Entertainment 360, 2021
Justin Malen et al and Miguel Arteta
📷 : Used with permission, Netflix
Youthful, lighthearted, and fun movies and TV shows
Movies and TV shows that make you laugh or involve physical activities like dance and exercise
Yes Day is a fun, bright, family film about a couple who decides to give their kids a Yes Day, 24 hours where they agree to everything their children want, but with certain ground rules. The film stars Jennifer Garner (Alias, The Kingdom) as Allison Torres and Edgar Ramirez (The Undoing, American Crime Story) as her even-keeled husband Carlos. Leaving her career to be a stay-at-home suburban mom to her three children, now ages 14, 11, and 5, she has evolved into the prototypical soccer mom whose kids are her priority and her answer to anything they perceive as fun and liberating is “No.” With the film shot in warm and sunny California, the family’s Yes Day proves to be a fun, hilarious, and wild adventure that brings the family even closer.
While watching and laughing, I realized I had not seen a film like this since my own boys were young and in the house. Then, we watched movies like Little Big League (still a grossly underrated film), Sandlot, Home Alone, Blank Check, and The Mighty Ducks. Preparing for the flicks was exciting: warm popcorn, early arrival at the theater for good seats (no reserve seating then), and kids abound with laughter and chatter throughout the showings. Besides the simple passage of time, what distinguishes Yes Day from these films is its array of cultural representations.
In Yes Day, a White woman is married to a Hispanic man and they have children who actually look like a melding of them both. Add to this that the kids are bilingual, indicating a warm embrace of their blended cultures! Black and Asian teachers are in the film, as well as higher-weight paramedics. An Asian woman fights without the use of martial arts. And the kids have friends that span the racial and ethnic spectrum. The special appearance by H.E.R. just adds to the inclusiveness of this film. The breadth of diversity drives home the degree to which fun family life has been legitimized in the past by White representations, and therefore viewed as the norm for Whites but not a way of life for Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, Indigenous People, and other groups.
In addition to the subtle themes about diverse representations and inclusiveness, Yes Day pushes to the forefront overt messages about parenting that likely resonate with many mothers. Mothers often bear primary responsibility for the home and child-rearing, and this is the case across race, class, and regional boundaries. In response to Allison’s hurt that the kids view her as a tyrant, Carlos responds in a most unexpected way.
If you are looking for a bright, fun, and upbeat family film to share with your little ones, you might want to give this one a try. You will laugh a lot, dance, and perhaps even cry a little.