Movie Review: Yes Man!

Based off the comedic memoir of Danny Wallace, Yes Man tells the story of Carl, played by Jim Carrey, a man who decides to start saying “Yes” to everything in his life, in an attempt to cure his overall unhappiness with life. My husband and I are both big Jim Carrey fans and also absolutely love Zooey Deschenal who also stars in this film, so we were very excited for this movie and were not disappointed.

I’m going to start by saying that this is probably better suited as a date night movie, and not a family film. It’s rated PG-13 for crude sexual humor, language and brief nudity and while your older children might not have a problem watching this movie, I certainly wouldn’t want to watch it in the same room with them. You can check out the parental guide at IMDB.com for a more detailed account of the movie. This feature on IMDB allows parents to “describing the facts of relevant scenes in the title for each one of the different categories: Sex and Nudity, Violence and Gore, Profanity, Alcohol/Drugs/Smoking, and Frightening/Intense Scenes.” If you haven’t heard of this before, I highly recommend it.

Anyway, back to my review. Unlike Bedtime Stories, which we also watched last week, I found Yes Man to be a perfect example of a character who is flawed but changes for the better by the end. I really thought the script was well thought out and that Carrey did an excellent job bringing his character full circle by the movie’s end. The concept of saying yes to everything or no to anything is really well fleshed out in the movie. They do a great job visualizing for you what your life would look like if you did either, and the good and bad aspects of both. All of the acting in this film was superb and aside from telling a really good moral story, it’s a typical Jim Carrey film in that it’s just hysterical. I enjoyed every minute of this movie, never feeling bored by it at all (which I’m prone to lately in my “old age”). I would definitely recommend it to anyone, especially Jim Carrey fans.

I’d give Yes Man 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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Movie Review: Bedtime Stories

I have mixed feelings about this new movie starring Adam Sandler. While Bedtime Stories is certainly a family friendly movie (rated PG) it was not exactly what I thought it would be. Yes, it’s a movie about bedtime stories coming true – but not in the fantastical sense that the previews might lead you to believe – for the most part, there seem to be perfectly rational explanations for a lot of things – nothing just pops out of thin air in a magical way – it’s more like the stories become premonitions for Sandler’s character’s real life.

Sandler plays Skeeter  Bronson, whose father built and ran into the ground the hotel he now works in – as a janitor. It had always been his father’s dream for his family to inherit the hotel, but when he proved to be a not so great business man, he ended up selling the hotel to a man who promised to give his son a job running the hotel someday. And then of course, he didn’t quite keep his promise. But with the help of Skeeter’s adorable niece and nephew, a bug eyed guinea pig, and some imaginative bedtime stories, things start to change – and in true family movie fashion, he manages to turn his life around.

I think the only thing that bothered me about this movie is that, despite being funny, Skeeter’s character isn’t terribly likable. He is pretty rude and, well, crude. Don’t worry about inappropriate material – that’s not really an issue – it was just a little disappointing this his character was never really admirable. I guess you could say he was an underdog, but I couldn’t help but feel like he often deserved his underdog status. And even by the end of the movie when he “turns his life around” and learns the lessons that make him a better person – it isn’t really as rewarding as it could have been – he just sort of pulls things together and comes out okay – he gets the girl, but you can’t help feeling sorry for her for that.

I don’t know – I think I’m being overly critical – Sandler certainly has his style of humor and he excels at it – and the movie was good – I laughed all the way through it – it was really just the mom in me who said, “But wait – ” at the end. Your kids will probably love the silly antics – and you grown ups should enjoy it, too. Netflix deems it appropriate for kids ages 7+ and I think I’d agree with that.

I give Bedtime Stories 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Review: Roku Digital Video Player

I recently had the opportunity to review the Roku, a digital video player that allows you to watch any of the 12,000+ movies and television shows from Netflix’s Watch Instantly feature right on your television. I’ve been intrigued by this idea for awhile, loving the idea of being able to watch a movie or tv series on the spur of the moment when there are lags between DVDs from my queue and nothing on tv (we have a very small, inexpensive cable plan so this does happen frequently and we have no movie channels or On Demand options to fall back on).

I was really impressed with the Roku – the set up was so simple, I never even glanced at their instruction manual during set up (but glancing through it afterwards, I did see that the manual was very straight forward and easy to understand). Just connect the box to your internet connection via wireless or wired Ethernet and you are good to go. Literally within minutes of opening the box, we were up and running and watching a movie (Gattaca).

The picture quality and speed were excellent – honestly I can think of nothing to complain about in regards to the Roku, which sells for just $99 and works seamlessly with your current Netflix subscription (meaning that if you have Netflix already, you won’t have to sign up for a subscription) and the movies and tv shows you watch won’t affect your queue or billing at all. And the good news doesn’t end there. You’ll be able to use the Roku with Amazon on Demand in the near future, gaining you access to over 40,000+ movies and tv shows available for purchase or rental.

There are currently a small handful of devices that you can use to watch Netflix’s Watch Instantly shows on your television (including your XBox 360, a TIVO or an internet connected blue ray player) but nothing is as inexpensive as the Roku. For just $99 you’ll have access to all 12,000+ shows available on Netflix and all 40,000+ shows soon to be available on Amazon on Demand. I think that’s quite a bargain, especially considering the excellent quality of the device.

Have you tried the Roku yet? What did you think of this digital video player?

Workout Review: Pick Your Level Weight Loss Pilates

Grade: A+

So my latest DVD workout attempt was Pick Your Level: Weight Loss Pilates. Admittedly, this might be the best disc I’ve done so far and I know you will be so proud of me when I tell you I did the entire 30 minute workout ::coughs::overthecourseofthreedays::coughs:: – that’s right, I actually finished the entire DVD. I think that’s a first.

So let’s review, first the things I liked, which kept me sticking with it:

  • Unlike Just My Size Yoga, this DVD felt like a workout. I am fairly confident a calorie or two has been burned this week and I felt truly challenged. Gasping on the floor, asking, “Does my body do that challenged?” a couple of times, but not so often that I died.
  • Unlike 10 Minute Solutions: Kickboxing Bootcamp this DVD was not made for the Athletically Elite. You do not HAVE to be super skinny with loads of energy to survive 5 minutes (although it certainly wouldn’t hurt).
  • Despite being faster paced than JMS Yoga, it was not so fast paced that I tripped over myself, a la 10 Minute Soltions: Fat Blasting Dance Mix. They walk you through where to put what and do a couple of slow demonstrations before moving into the faster pace and usually that faster pace actually came right in time, you know, when you are thinking, “If you don’t let me move my arm soon, it might fall off.” Before that.
  • They explain in the beginning that there are three people working out in the video at 3 levels. It’s obvious who is who, not only by the varying degrees of agility, but more noticably by the progression of skin to clothing ratio. The first model (level 1 – that would be my level) is wearing skin tight legging style pants and a tank top. Not skimpy, but not a powder blue full body suit. Level 2 wears something more resembling a sports bra with leggings. Level 3 manages to somehow show more skin, in a slightly skimpier different colored sports bra, but just in case you get confused between 2 and 3, Model 3 will usually have one leg over her head in impossible looking positions. Think broken Barbie doll.
  • One cool aspect is you aren’t supposed to limit yourself to one level. If you are feeling like, “I could be doing more,” you can temporarily move from level 1 to level 2 or even 3. If you are thinking, “this level choice was a bad idea, I think I’m dying,” tone it down a level. Easy peasy. I know we’ve all seen the DVDs with the multiple people and it’s all cliched, but it really does work well in this video and it’s interesting to see what people in shape are capable of.
  • I like that the Level 1 chick doesn’t appear to be immortal. She occasionally makes faces as if to say, “oh this one is tough,” or breathes a little more deeply than the anamatron robots in levels 2 and 3 who could probably sing the national anthem throughout the whole workout without breaking a swear, dropping a beat, or batting an eyelash. Okay, maybe they’d bat an eyelash, but that would be intentional.

The DVD is divided into three-ish sections – standing, side lying and lying lying. I personally prefer the standing workout, but that’s probably because if there was a level 0, I’d be all over it. But I kept up fairly well with level 1, and occasionally I did a level 2 move. I was pretty proud. I’d consider keeping the DVD for awhile but since I switched to a 2 at a time plan on Netflix, I’m planning to send it back by the end of the weekend so something new can come in cause I don’t see MM parting with Cinderelmo anytime soon. But I do plan to try another Pilates DVD soon and I’m pretty proud that I finally finished a disc. So let’s hear it for Pilates:

YAY PILATES!!! A+ For Not Sucking!!

Have you tried any new workouts recently?

About the Momma:

Jen is a Stay at Home Mom and Loving Wife. Spends too much time online reading RSS feeds and posting in her blog. If you haven’t heard from her in awhile, she’s likely lost in a good book, sleeping or watching Grey’s Anatomy.

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