The Yes Men (2003)

“There’s a lot of garbage in politics”–GW Bush

The documentary The Yes Men follows the exploits of a team of people who’ve made it their mission to provide “Identity Correction” to various corporate entities. The Yes Men originally started their activities on a website parodying Bush, and then they expanded their efforts, and for the purposes of this film, their main focus is the World Trade Organization.

To the Yes Men, Identity Correction means using satire and parody to present the truth and the ugliness behind the public facades which hide “leaders and corporations who put profits ahead of everything else.” According to the Yes Men, the WTO’s policies are presented as an inherently ‘good thing’ but the reality is exploitive and frequently devastating to smaller, less powerful countries. Taking the idea “what can’t corporations get away with?” the Yes Men get themselves invited to various lectures and conferences and there make the most outrageous presentations focusing on just how their host corporations can exploit the workers. This is really hilarious stuff, and the Yes Men–literally and figuratively–certainly have giant balls.

The Yes Men’s philosophy of Identity Correction reminds me of the activities of the Biotic Baking Brigade–although the Yes Men’s activities obviously require a great deal of staging and acting. The film could have used some solid facts and figures about the WTO–its effects of Jamaica’s economy for example (See Life and Debt). But as it is, The Yes Men concentrates on the funny side of their message. And while this makes for a vastly entertaining film, the documentary misses an opportunity to weave valuable information into the film. If the viewer is seeking information about the WTO, look elsewhere, but if you want to discover the Direct Action tactics of the Yes Men, then you’ll be entertained.

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Filed under Documentary, Political/social films

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