Yes Day review: A perfectly unhinged family comedy

Jennifer Garner and Edgar Ramirez
Jennifer Garner and Edgar Ramirez star as two hassled parents in Yes Day. Pic credit: Netflix

Imagine having to follow the rules of two rambunctious children and one angsty teen? Sounds like an absolute nightmare, right? However, Netflix’s Yes Day is far from that; instead, it’s a hilarious family comedy that builds up to a heartwarming conclusion.

Coming to Netflix at the end of the week is Miguel Arteta’s Yes Day, starring Jennifer Garner and Edgar Ramirez.

Getting to know the Torres family is a blast! 

The movie launches straight into the action, introducing its audience to the Torres family, which consists of mom Alison (Garner), dad Carlos (Ramirez), 14-year-old Katie (Jenna Ortega), middle-child Nando (Julian Lerner), and the “baby” of the family, Kate (Everly Carganilla).

They are having an eventful morning as Katie is upset that her parents won’t let her go to a music festival without adult supervision, and Nando is trying to turn his breakfast into an exploding volcano.

Quickly, the family goes their separate ways, with Alison taking the older two children to school and Carlos taking the youngest. By this point, it is obvious that the couple has a good cop/bad cop routine, with Alison constantly taking the blame for being a “party-pooper.” 

Also emphasized is that Alison is having difficulty connecting with her eldest daughter, who suddenly thinks she’s too cool to listen to oldies with her mom and spend time with her, no matter how many times Alison tries to insinuate that she’s a “cool mom.”

And honestly, Alison and Carlos are super cool. When they first fell in love, their main schtick was saying yes to everything. They were always up for going on endless adventures, as the audience gets to see through an exciting montage — however, having kids changed things. 

The day precedes with the two going off to handle work responsibilities — Carlos works as a lawyer for an electronics company, and Alison fails her interview for a new marketing job.

Hilariously, the interviewer claims she “likes her [Alison] too much” and would instead prefer an “entitled millennial that she can keep at work until 10 pm.” It’s quippy dialogue like that, which makes this movie a total kick for audiences of all ages. 

The couple ends up meeting together at a parent-teacher conference where the teachers of the two eldest Torres children have called for an intervention. They noticed a common theme in the children’s work that paints Alison as an oppressor — or a Stalin-Esque dictator, put eloquently by Nando.

They end up being comforted by a tater tot-obsessed guidance counselor who encourages them to do a “Yes Day,” a day in which the kids get to make the rules and the parents have no choice but to say “yes.” 

Although originally against the idea, Alison warms up to it after coming to the heartbreaking realization that her kids aren’t able to appreciate all that she does for them because she refuses to loosen up a little. It doesn’t help that Carlos is all for the idea, and saying no makes her, once again, the bad guy.

Eventually, the children earn the “Yes Day” by doing chores and getting good grades, and they put it on their schedule. But not before Alison and Katie turn it into a competition. If Alison completes Yes Day without putting her foot down, then Katie has to go to the music festival with her. However, if Alison doesn’t make it, Katie gets to go alone.  

They lay down some ground rules: Everything has to be legal, nothing can be planned for the future, and the events have to take place without 20 miles of the house.

Things begin to die down

Yes Day is a wholesome, heart-racing adventure following two parents who fully allow their kids a day to live out their wildest dreams. It is packed with so much authenticity and genuine love.

It’s the product of a group of people who truly held this story to their hearts — Garner has already admitted that she does Yes Days with her own children in real-life. 

When things die down in the movie, it’s incredibly moving and not dumbed down for younger audiences. By the end of the day, things get way out of hand, and the Torres parents become unable to take control.

This forces the children to realize that they still need their parents, and while yes, it can be fun to do whatever they want, sometimes they need a soft pillow to fall back on. 

Yes Day should be on everybody’s calendar to watch this weekend; it’s built for all, children, teenagers, and adults. While the younger minds might find themselves lost in the escapism of it all, especially if they have never heard of a Yes Day before, its older audience members that will be reminded of what it feels like to grow up — the loneliness, the love, and the fear of it all.

At the end of the day, I think there will be more Yes Days in everybody’s futures. 

Enjoyed this? Check out our review of Moxie.

Yes Day comes to Netflix on March 12.

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