It's not often you see a high-concept comedy, let alone one starring Jim Carrey, that offers a message worth heeding. But "Yes Man," despite a brief moment of needless vulgarity - did I mention this movie stars Jim Carrey? - actually has something to say about the power of positive thinking.

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Carrey plays Carl Allen, a down-in-the-dumps loan officer who lost his taste for life when he lost his girlfriend. But when an old friend drags him to a cultish seminar headed by a charismatic guru (Terence Stamp), Carl unexpectedly catches the fever and promises to say yes to every opportunity, invitation and insinuation. It's a funny scene that mocks self-help movements but also gives them credit: Carl ends the session weeping with joy.

Thus begins what's essentially a movie-length montage: Carl takes flying lessons, Carl learns Korean, Carl goes bungee jumping. Along the way, he falls for Allison ( Zooey Deschanel), a freewheeling creative type who teaches a class in jogging/photography (the results are a tad blurry) and moonlights in a rock band called Munchausen By Proxy. Deschanel, a musician in real life, gets her own delightful montage, highlighted by her rendition of Jimi Hendrix's "Star Spangled Banner" on keytar.

If Carrey's rubbery mugging isn't your cup of tea, there are others to watch, from the charmingly daffy Deschanel to Rhys Darby as Carl's hopelessly nerdy boss. The one drawback: The filmmakers throw in an oversexed granny who pushes Carl's agreeability to a new level. It's a vulgar scene that mars what otherwise could have been a family film.

The film largely sticks to convention, but "Yes Man" does have the ring of truth: It's based on a memoir by Danny Wallace. At times Carl's example seems well worth following, though maybe without the granny.

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PLOT A chronic depressive changes his life by saying yes to pretty much everything.

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CAST Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel, Rhys Darby, Terence Stamp


PLAYING AT Area theaters

BOTTOM LINE Despite some brief vulgarity, this Carrey comedy has charm and surprise! - a worthwhile message.


Jim's box office: rich and richer

Jim Carrey is hoping for a blockbuster with "Yes Man." Here are the actor's five top-grossing, live-action films to date:

HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS (2000) - $260,044,825

BRUCE ALMIGHTY (2003) - $242,829,261

BATMAN FOREVER (1995) - $184,031,112

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LIAR LIAR (1997) - $181,410,615

DUMB AND DUMBER (1984) - $127,175,374