Reviews Yes Day I know. Or, I should say, I’m a parent, so I “no.” There is little as terrifying as being responsible for the continued survival of that little bundle in your arms, and as
they learn to crawl and put things in their mouths and explore the world around them, sometimes it does seem that the world is conspiring to hurt them. And then there’s middle school, and a whole different kind of potential for getting hurt.
So it does seem like “no” is the only way to keep them safe.
That’s the dilemma faced by Allison Torres (Jennifer Garner), who has three children pushing back against her forbidding, rejecting, declining, “nope on a rope,” nearly reflexive use of the word “no.”
Allison is not happy about it either. She wonders how she got there. Once she was a person who “said yes to everything.”
She met Carlos (Edgar Ramírez) and “it was like finding a partner
in yes … Yes was like the theme of our relationship,” as they went
sky-diving and rock-climbing.
And then, children, and “No became the new yes. No is part of the job.
No is the light. No is the answer.” Allison is tired of saying no but
feels she has to make up for Carlos, who is the “no” guy at work and
wants to be the fun dad when he gets home. Also, she really wishes she
could say no to having her children grow up and become less dependent on her.
When their children’s teachers report that the kids feel smothered, even imprisoned by no, the school guidance counselor (Nat Faxon) suggests a “Yes Day,” when the parents have to say yes to everything. There are limits: the day must be earned with chores and better grades, and all yeses must be contained in the day (no “can we get a dog?”), not dangerous or illegal, and within a reasonable budget and distance limit.
The oldest Torres child is 14-year-old Katie (Jenna Ortega), and she ups
the ante with a bet: if her mom says no to anything at all during the Yes Day,
then she will get to go to a music festival that evening with her friends,
no adult chaperone. If she loses the bet, Allison will go to the festival with her.
As parents say when they tell their children no,
“it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.”
And it is a lot of fun for a while as the Torres children take away their parents’ screens, give their mom a makeover involving glitter and a tutu, and have an enormous “gut-buster” ice cream dish for breakfast.