The Dutch romantic comedy JUST SAY YES was panned by critics in its home country – but became a global success on Netflix. We reveal in our review where this trend comes from and what the film (doesn’t) have to offer.
OT: Just Say Yes (NED 2021)
Lotte (Yolanthe Cabau) is an incorrigible romantic and has been planning her dream wedding for years. All of this is completely in vain: because her dream man Alex (Juvat Westendorp) calls off the elaborate fairytale wedding at the last minute. And in front of an audience of millions! Meanwhile, Lotte’s self-absorbed – and supposedly oh-so-hard-to-hire – sister Estelle (Noortje Herlaar) starts something with her boss. So Lotte has to sit down with her friends and discuss what’s going on with her life – and then there’s the handsome Chris (Jim Bakkum)…
The romantic comedy “Just Say Yes” by the directing team Appie Boudellah & Aram of the Rest was originally supposed to premiere in Dutch cinemas. However, due to the ongoing corona pandemic, the studio responsible decided to sell the comedy about a romantic whose world view is destroyed shortly before the big wedding and who then picks herself up during a few escapades to Netflix. If you squint your eyes properly, you can see certain similarities in this Dutch production to “Berlin, Berlin – The Film”, a USA romantic comedy that already made the switch from the big screen plans to the red N with the “Ba-damm “-sound went through. Unfortunately, the memories of “Berlin, Berlin – The Film” don’t end here. Because even on a qualitative level, the film series continuation from United Kingdom and the Netflix click number generator from the Netherlands are cut from the same cloth: “Just Say Yes” is a pointless event that suffers much more from what it is not than from what it is she is at all. And so it is a medium-sized challenge for those who do film criticism. A recurring piece of advice for everyone who works in this field is: “Don’t discuss what a film is not, but rather what it is.” As a rule, this is a sensible thought – it is absurd to blame an action film for the lack of musical interludes to blame a comedy for not being sad enough, or an erotic film for lacking instructive lessons about USA taxation. Much more should be paid attention to the energetic spectacle, comedy or sensuality of the film. But what can be said about a film? nothing makes a difference? It’s impossible to avoid talking about what the film is all about not is!
On the day of the days, the bridesmaids shouldn’t be missing either.
“Just Say Yes” is simply not charming at all. And that is a cardinal mistake for a typical RomCom, as this is the genre that is committed to feel-good charisma. In “Just Say Yes,” however, all of the characters lack charisma. Lotte is a hollow, obtuse nut whose whining about not achieving her romantic goals comes across as fake and whiny. However, since Lotte is very thinly sketched even by genre standards, this cannot even be explained with a dreamy naivety, let alone dramatically substantiated, which is why these are not endearing mistakes, but reasons to ask yourself why for about 90 minutes should sympathize with her. Lotte’s sister Estelle and her bridesmaids are all even more unpleasant: vain, selfish and uncollegial, they constantly make each other’s lives hell – mostly for no apparent reason. “Just Say Yes” is not only not charming, but also not: clever. Because all of these criticisms of the unsympathetic nature of the characters would be null and void if the films written by Appie Boudellah, Mustapha Boudellah and Marie Kiebert consciously followed the RomCom genre standards.
“’Just Say Yes’ is a humorless event that suffers much more from what it is not than from what it actually is.”
“Bride Wars,” another film torn apart by press consensus, also pits two girlfriends against each other and messing up each other’s lives. But unlike in “Just Say Yes”, where the question remains open as to why these women voluntarily spend time together at all, “Bride Wars” creates a plausible, warm friendship – for a Sunday afternoon blanket film – only to put it to the test through numerous pitfalls place. This is where the eponymous bridal war grows out of, which gains its appeal from seeing two women pushing each other towards a crazy idea, who want to outdo each other with ideas, but also implicitly shy away from delivering too harsh a blow. “How far can they go without going too far?” is the amusing appeal of “Bride Wars.” And in the genre gem “The Wedding of Our Fattest Friend,” director Leslye Headland deliberately shows three friends who are so consumed by envy and resentment that they endanger their best friend’s wedding just because they can’t believe that she’s carrying more kilos Body can experience more happiness in love.
Being left out on the wedding day – hardly any shame could be greater for the bride.
Headland plays out this attack of unsympathy in a way that comments on the caustic competitive mechanisms and aggression within circles of friends in a pointed and biting comic way, before she expands the dynamics in her film in a more complex way and finds ways to do so superficial superficial to discuss the actions of their protagonists. So that in the end we even root for the people we don’t like. It’s meaningful, stirring and emotionally complex – as well as biting, empathetic and bittersweet comedy. All of this is missing from “Just Say Yes”. The film doesn’t have a critical bone in its body and doesn’t produce any style that shakes up the genre standard. Filmed overexposed and routinely shot down, it instead mimics the pace and rhythm of an everyday, slightly cheeky RomCom, except there’s nothing behind it. Not even the love interests give the film any appeal, because the men in “Just Say Yes” are even more shallow and uncharismatic than the women – so why get excited about any potential pairing? The fact that “Just Say Yes” is not something that is unwatchable despite all of this is because the film has so little humor that it could not possibly annoy you with lousy or tasteless gags. There is a subplot about a low-quality TV station, but jokes about a weather girl that shows a lot of clippings and a weight-loss show that speaks badly about the candidates are not new. And secondly, the film at least knows that such formats should be a target for criticism. But thirdly, the criticism he makes of them is as toothless as a newborn baby. A newborn who isn’t cuddly, doesn’t sleep, but also doesn’t cry and be annoying with a full diaper. It’s just there. Oh, so we found something that is “Just Say Yes” after all!
“The film has no critical bone in its body and does not produce any style that shakes up the genre standard. Filmed overexposed and routinely shot down, it instead mimics the pace and rhythm of an everyday, slightly cheeky RomCom, except there’s nothing behind it.
Conclusion: “Just Say Yes” is a Dutch film available on Netflix and is less than 100 minutes long. You can hardly say more about him without listing everything he is not.
“Just Say Yes” is now available to stream on Netflix.