Jennifer Garner is already the coolest mom ever, but seeing her in the Netflix original movie Yes Day will make you fall in love with her all over again! The 13 Going on 30 actress plays a mom named Allison, who used to be up for adventures when she was younger, but not so much now that she's married with three kids. Her husband, Carlos (Édgar Ramírez), is the "no" guy at work, while Allison's favourite word is "no" with her three kids, Katie (Jenna Ortega), Nando (Julian Lerner), and Ellie (Everly Carganilla). But one day, the parents decide to switch up their regular routine by giving their kids a yes day! For 24 hours, they vow to tell their kids "yes," with a few ground rules in place, in order to have fun as a family. Their kids' wildest dreams play out, leading to a day of adventure filled with Kool-Aid, glitter, and so much foam!
Here are a few things to keep in mind when watching this movie with your younger kids:
- There's a bit of mild violence.
At the beginning, Nando makes a video for school comparing his mom to Stalin and Mussolini, showing her yelling at the kids with unflattering, mildly violent themes. Later, Allison gets into a fight at an amusement park over a giant pink gorilla, landing her and Carlos in jail for a night. There are also a few scenes of parents yelling at their kids. It's very mild (and even pretty funny at times), but it could bother kids sensitive to violence.
- And some mild potty humour.
Carlos eats too much ice cream and tries not to throw up, then runs to the bathroom. Later, they talk about how it came out "the other end."
- There's a lot of kids disobeying their parents.
Nando and Ellie throw a wild "nerd" party with other kids when their parents aren't home, while Katie sneaks off to a music festival with a friend. Both situations go awry (with Ellie's friend trying to pressure her to go into a tent with two older guys), and the kids all realise they should have listened to Mom and Dad.
- The cultural representation feels natural.
Yes Day is part of Netflix's Representation Matters collection, with several characters speaking Spanish throughout the film. This is an example of a biracial family, with a Latino dad and a white mom, and it was nice to see Allison so naturally embrace her family's culture, speaking Spanish with her kids and husband.
- It ignores the privilege required to have a yes day.
One thing the film doesn't address is the certain amount of privilege a family must have in order to give their kids a yes day. Parents would have to take off work and have the extra money to spend to take their kids to amusement parks, let their nice car get damaged at a car wash, etc. It is worth having a conversation with your kids about why every family wouldn't be able to do something like this.
For me, Yes Day gets five stars! It reminded me of true family-friendly movies from the past, where you can sit down with kids of all ages to eat popcorn, laugh, learn a lesson or two, and simply enjoy each other without anything too adult to fast-forward through or explain. (But since I will watch anything with Jennifer Garner, I may be a tad biased.) Gather the family around — especially your younger kids — to watch it together and talk about different themes as they come up. You just may be convinced to try your own yes day, with whatever ground rules work best for your family!