‘Yes Day’ Review: It’s a Family Affair

Ice cream for breakfast? Silly costumes in public? Parents are required to give the green light to every request on Yes Day, a designated 24-hour period when kids take charge.

Despite the farce and chaos such a premise could contain, there is little that’s edgy or engaging in “Yes Day,” a mediocre comedy streaming on Netflix. Directed by Miguel Arteta, the film follows the Torres family, a sunny and fairly conventional suburban household. Mornings find the dad (Edgar Ramírez) dancing and bantering with the kids while the mom (Jennifer Garner), type-A and in the kitchen, wags a finger.

All seems well until parent-teacher night, when teachers suggest the Torres children are suffering from draconian rules at home. No matter that the kids construct waffle volcanoes at breakfast, scatter toys around the house and appear to lead an altogether breezy life. Once the siblings call their mom a fun-killer, she schedules a Yes Day to prove them wrong.

Adapted from a children’s book, “Yes Day” ticks off a series of youthful wishes as the Torres clan engages in extravagant — but never out-of-the-question — behavior. Using slow motion and montage, the film follows the family as they give Mom a makeover, slurp an enormous sundae and visit a carwash with the windows down. Later, in the movie’s grandest set piece, the siblings escort their parents to a game of capture the flag with water balloons — a sequence that feels less like a forbidden desire granted than an oddly elaborate event for three kids to have organized.

But though “Yes Day” does not lack for energy, the jokes are too broad and the mishaps too safe for the movie to emerge as an honest or imaginative journey through family conflict and compromise. Dad is chased by vindictive birds, Mom picks a fight at a theme park and the kids come to appreciate that, sometimes, adults are right to say no to things — like this movie.

Yes Day
Rated PG. Running time: 1 hour 26 minutes. Watch on Netflix.

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