Fri. Nov 18th, 2022

“Yes Day” is out on Netflix. Photo / APREVIEW:
Are you looking for a family movie to watch with the kids on a lazy Sunday afternoon? May I suggest you give Netflix a loud “hell no” when it suggests you watch “Yes Day”?
In “Yes Day”, released on Netflix earlier this month, two helicopter parents decide they need to be more positive and say yes to their children more often. The result is, as any parent can easily predict, a complete disaster.
How bad a disaster, you ask? Well, at one point they go through an actual car wash with their car windows down, because their kids wanted to and the parents, who no doubt worked hard to pay for the car, couldn’t say “no” to potentially damaging something quite expensive.
Fun, right?
Wrong. This is stupid. I rage-watched this movie from about five minutes in, when I realised they had cast the goddess that is Jennifer Garner – who makes everything in the world bright and beautiful – to villainise parents whose only mistake is… doing some actual parenting? I don’t know, the whole thing made me angry.
Garner plays Allison, the helicopter mum who says “no” to her three kids so much they depict her as a dictator in their school assignments (if there’s a prize for the quickest sort of reference to Godwin’s Law in a comedy movie, please send it straight to them).
Allison and her husband Carlos take advice from a guidance counsellor, a man really needs to consider a career change, who tells them they should try having a whole day of saying “yes” to anything their children suggest.
For 24 hours, the kids decide what the family gets to do and the parents have to go along with all their stupid ideas, which means the movie could very well go in the “Horror” category instead of “Comedy/Family”.
“Yes Day” is inspired by the 2009 children’s book with the same name, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and while I understand the concept of the picture book, I’m not sure it translates well into a movie aimed at older children, whose potential for trouble is far greater than Sudocrem all over the walls.
“Yes Day” would be a lot better if it had just been “Yes Moment” or, at a stretch, “Yes Hour”. While I get that occasionally letting kids choose things works out their decision-making muscle, I think the movie does a good job of proving that giving them a full day of nothing but “yes”, particularly phrased as a challenge, is just asking for trouble.
The movie portrays the tension between the older children wanting to get independence and the parents struggling to relinquish some control. However, their attempt at solving the issue only ends up causing more problems, as what follows is a day of parents setting aside their parenting responsibilities in an attempt to become friends with their children.
It’s a good reminder that “yes days” are just as bad as “no days” and that virtue lies somewhere in the middle.
At one point, an ambulance officer called Karen comes and almost clears the reputation of Karens all over the world but uttering one of the few smart sentences in the movie. When her colleague suggests she, too, should have a “yes day”, Karen simply tells her to “grow up”.
“No is part of the job,” Garner’s character rightly says at the start of the movie, before proceeding to completely abandon all reason.
“Yes Day” is an average movie advice but not something I’d take as good parenting advice. I don’t care what kind of heartwarming message it tries to give out at the end, I refuse to let Hollywood guilt me into not parenting my kids.
In summary: I’d say of “Yes Day” the same thing I find myself having to say to my child all day long some days: