WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

PLUGGED IN RATING

    No Rating Available

Watch This Review

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Movie Review

Just say no ... to everything.

That's what Carl Allen does. As a bank loan manager, he gets lots of practice. When folks come in and ask for money, he says no. When his elderly neighbor asks him if he'd like some breakfast, he says no. When his boss invites him to a "funny hat and/or wig party," he says no. He never goes out, if he can help it: His friends (a miracle he has any, really) drag him out every now and then, but he invariably has a miserable time and leaves before his faux-leather booth seat has even warmed up.

Carl can't even break away from his comfy living room couch long enough to attend his best friend's engagement party. And that no-show pushes the honoree, Peter, over the edge.

"If you don't change your life, you're going to end up a lonely guy," Peter says.

Carl doesn't want to end up lonely. So he shucks his cocoon and attends a self-help seminar led by professional motivator Terrence Bundley. (Think Dale Carnegie, Benny Hinn and Richard Simmons all wrapped up in the skin of a stern British butler.) His shtick? Get people to say yes.

Yeah, that's it.

And you need to pay how much for this seminar?

No matter. Carl buys what Terrence is selling. And he makes a "covenant" with Terrence to say yes to every opportunity that presents itself, no matter what it is.

Advertisement

Positive Elements

Yes is good. Sometimes. Carl had become a spectator in his own life, watching it roll by while he makes his couch ever more formfitting.

"When you say yes," Terrence thunders, "you embrace the possible." And this, on one level, is true. Carl's first yes goes to a homeless man who asks for a ride to a nearby park—a detour that brings Carl into contact with a scooter-driving beauty named Allison. He puts up a set of shelves for his elderly neighbor, Tillie. He volunteers at a soup kitchen, learns Korean and starts playing the guitar. Gradually, his world expands beyond his couch and video queue. And he discovers he's not the only one benefiting from this new zest for life. He cheers up a Korean woman by talking to her in her native language. He (improbably) "sings" a man down from a building ledge. He forms new ties with his boss. And he throws Peter's fiancée a spectacular bridal shower. All through the magic of yes.

Of course, yes has its moral downsides, some of which we'll document in the following "content" sections. Additionally, Carl realizes that saying yes to everything leads to just as many life problems as saying no. "There is a middle ground here, Carl," Peter tells him, and by movie's end, Carl seems to have gotten closer to equilibrium. He figures out how to create a few healthy boundaries between himself and his beautiful, confused ex-wife. And when Allison asks Carl if they should move in together, he manages to say no to that, too.

Here's the rather obvious lesson Carl learns: Embrace life, but be sensible about it.

Spiritual Content

Carl could have just as easily learned that in most any church, but the makers of Yes Man said no to that idea. Instead, you have Terrence's quasi-spiritual cheerleading. Terrence's first encounter with Carl resembles a charismatic healing ceremony as the motivator grabs Carl's head with both hands and thrashes him around for a minute—as if he's trying to cast out Carl's demons.

Carl becomes a true zealot after he temporarily breaks the covenant and hits a patch of bad luck. From that point on, Carl sees Terrence's philosophy as more than good advice: It becomes a kind of supernatural faith—one in which Terrence giveth and Terrence taketh away.

Terrence does no such thing, of course. "There was no covenant," Terrence tells Carl. "There never was. I was just riffing."

Elsewhere, a homeless man says "God bless you" to Carl after Carl gives him a wad of dough. And a suicidal apartment dweller owns what looks to be a kitschy tapestry of the Virgin Mary.

Sexual Content

Required by the covenant to say yes to everything, Carl affirmatively answers spam e-mails that a) promise to increase the size of a certain critical part of his anatomy and b) will send him a Persian "bride." Carl has no interest in the would-be bride when she arrives, but he does take her out to lunch.

After Carl puts up shelves for Tillie, the woman wants to pay him back by giving him oral sex. Carl initially refuses, but, after he feels like he's being punished for breaking the yes covenant, he goes back and Tillie does the deed. (We see Carl from the waist up.) Tillie later leads one of Carl's friends into a back room, presumably to give him the same treatment.

The film suggests that Carl has sex with girlfriend Allison at the deserted Hollywood Bowl: The two begin to kiss, and they sink to the theater floor before the camera cuts away. Carl's ex-wife also passionately kisses him. He sees his ex-wife and her new boyfriend fondle each other (we don't) and utters the name of a venereal disease. He kisses a strange woman at a bar.

We see part of a man's backside through a hospital gown, and a nurse reveals a bit of cleavage. One of Carl's friends sneaks into a vacated hospital bed "just in case the nurse comes back." Someone references someone else's "package." A seminar is filled with nude people, all of whom cover private body parts. Carl makes a reference to modeling nude. There are several double entendres.

Violent Content

Carl watches a scene from the film Saw. (The clip we see doesn't have any blood or gore.) Slapstick pratfalls involve slipping, sliding, falling, chasing and bonking. A friend of Carl's tosses a rock through a bank window and then rumbles with a pair of security guards. Terrence smacks Carl in the forehead with a microphone.

In a dream sequence, Carl lies on his couch, comically contorted in death, while a fly crawls along his open eye and into his mouth. The rock band Allison fronts (called Munchausen by Proxy) dabbles in violent lyrics: Allison sings that she'll "snap your neck and spit on you."

Carl and Terrence get into a car accident that sends them both to the hospital. (Terrence's face is cut in a few places.) A man threatens suicide. Allison and Carl go skeet shooting, and Allison accidentally fires a round into the ground. One of Carl's friends mentions that he once shot a cow with a bazooka.

Crude or Profane Language

Characters say the f-word once (and another is hinted at). There are nine or 10 s-words. In addition, the song "F--- This S---" is listed in the credits. God's and Jesus' names are carelessly interjected about 20 times. (God's is paired with "d--n" at least three times.) A variety of other rude and crude words include "b--tard," "h---" and "a--."

Drug and Alcohol Content

Scenes are shot at numerous watering holes, and most of the folks we meet drink wine, beer and/or mixed drinks. Peter tells his friends that his engagement will feature an open bar.Carl and his buddies have far too much to drink at a club. (Carl actually snorts some hot sauce, too.) Obviously drunk, Carl gets in a fight. The fight—and the night—do not end well: Carl wakes up in his bathroom, his legs wrapped around the toilet. Yet he chuckles when he wakes up, remembering, apparently, the night's escapades.

Carl also pulls an all-nighter (and attends, he says, a couple of raves) with the help of a case of Red Bull. The ensuing caffeine crash leaves the guy sprawled out, unconscious, in the middle of a jogging trail.

Other Negative Elements

Both Allison and Carl could stand to take some scooter-driving lessons. And the two break into the grounds of the Hollywood Bowl.

Conclusion

Yes Man trumpets the virtues of saying yes—to live our lives with gusto and joy. And that is, in some respects, a great message.

But I wonder: Is this an ethos that's somehow lacking traction in our society?

Let's skirt the obvious dangers of saying yes to violence or drug abuse or one-night stands or any of the myriad ethical, moral and physical dangers unmindful adherence to such a philosophy might trigger.

Instead, let's take a closer look at Carl and his role as a loan officer: Once Carl converts to the yes way of life, he starts approving loans with the speed of a caffeinated mayfly—501 in one month, when most loan officers approve around 30 or 40, we're told. He approves them for all sorts of things—some for upstart businesses, but most for things like jewelry, TVs and motorcycles. It's stuff nobody really needs, but buying it, we're told, makes the buyers feel better. Carl's boss is impressed with his initiative, so he gets promoted. Carl's boss's boss is thrilled the bank is making money off Carl's "micro-loans," so he promotes the guy again. All because Carl could not say no.

Ah, the irony. This plotline might as well bear the tag, "How to win friends and ruin their financial lives."

Pick up a newspaper or turn on the television news, and you'll see the real-life results of what happens when we can't say no. At the time of this film's release, foreclosure rates are soaring. Loan defaults are at record highs. The government is bailing out banks and lending agencies to the tune of $1 trillion, primarily because these organizations doled out too much money to too many bad credit risks. They—and we, as consumers—are infatuated with yes.

I don���t want to be too much of a downer—this is a Jim Carrey comedy, after all. But in America, saying yes isn't our problem. And that's something Yes Man never comes to terms with. Even when Carl begins to say no again, it's only because he wants to say no every now and then—not because he knows he needs to. Sure, the film talks about balance. But it never dips into sacrifice, prudence or responsibility.

What it does dip into are pools of sexual content, heavy drinking and foul language. And that makes it pretty easy to say no to.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!