Yes Day (2021) Review

Ever heard the concept of “Yes Day”? It all began in 2009 when author Amy Rosenthal and illustrator Tom Lichtenheld collaborated in the children’s book of the same name. A few years later, it became a popular trend after Jennifer Garner posted her makeup-free selfie on her Instagram in 2017 after spending a day celebrating “Yes Day” with her three children. Apparently, she and her children have been doing this for five years already.

Fast-forward to the present, Amy Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld’s 2009 children’s book is now getting a Netflix treatment, with Garner herself starred and also served as one of the producers. In Yes Day, Allison Torres (Jennifer Garner) used to be very adventurous and always says “yes” to everything. That is until she met Carlos (Edgar Ramirez). They got married and blessed with three kids including Katie (Jenna Ortega), Nando (Julian Lerner) and Ellie (Everly Carganilla).

Being a parent, of course, means everything has to change. Allison is no longer the same woman she used to be. She begins to exercise control by saying “no” to her kids whenever they try to do something stupid or dangerous. She doesn’t even allow her eldest daughter, Katie to attend a music festival without having a parent by her side.

Then one day, both Allison and Carlos got a call to attend a parent-teacher conference where they learn about their kids making a video project about how their mom being such a Stalin and Mussolini-kind of tyrants. In order to make things right, one of the teachers (Nat Faxon) suggests them to give the kids a “Yes Day”. According to him, a “Yes Day” means they have to grant their kids’ wishes but with a few certain exceptions for a 24-hour period where they couldn’t say “no”.

A scene from Netflix's "Yes Day" (2021)

Allison decided to embrace the “Yes Day” challenge and together with Carlos, they are ready to go along with their kids’ wishes.

Yes Day is pretty much a predictable family-friendly movie, complete with all the obligatory fun and moral lesson. Director Miguel Arteta (2000’s Chuck & Buck, 2020’s Like a Boss) keep things moving at a brisk pace since it only runs under 90-minute long minus the standard-issue preachy tones typically associated with family-friendly movies. Although he could have done more about the high-concept premise, Yes Day has its few worthwhile moments (the ice cream challenge and the water balloon battle come to mind).

It also helps that the cast is likeable. First, there’s Jennifer Garner, truly committed to her role as a strict mother who eventually learns how to let loose once in a while. Her co-star, Edgar Ramirez delivers decent support here while the younger cast — Jenna Ortega, Julian Lerner and Everly Carganilla — is worth mentioning as well.

Given the trying time that we all have to endure during the COVID-19 pandemic, fun and harmless movie like Yes Day is a welcome diversion.

Yes Day is currently streaming on Netflix.