Title: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
Director: Ben Stiller (The Cable Guy)
Cast: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Sean Penn, Adam Scott, Shirley Maclaine
Plot: Life magazine photo lab worker and day dreamer Walter Mitty (Stiller) is a man disconnected from reality and a man to frightened to share his feelings with co-worker and potential love interest Cheryl (Wiig). When Life magazine is shut down and the front page negative lost Walter must stop dreaming and do as he sets out to find illusive photographer Sean O’Connell (Penn) and recover the lost photo.
“Beautiful things don’t ask for attention”
Review by Eddie on 17/01/2014
Setting out to prove to the world that he is more than mere male models and zipper accidents actor/director Ben Stiller has chosen James Thurber’s famous short story as inspiration for this wannabe life changing movie that whilst featuring many an incredible image and playing out with an inoffensive charm, is a tale that wants us to believe that it is more than it is and upon reflection is about as meaty as a vegetarians banquet.
The downfall of Stiller’s film is that the actual real life tale of dreamer Walter who must enter reality and finally do something with his life is not as grand or wonderful as it thinks it is, scenes played out in Walter’s imagination are enjoyable yet slightly too silly (a scene with a Stretch Armstrong doll in particular) and the journey that Walter takes to discover the lost negative is rushed and almost as unbelievable as his dreams, giving off the sense of too much fantasy when we should be partaking in a reality based journey. The sense of playfulness is a major factor in the romance of Walter Mitty feeling unbelievable also.
Stiller and Wiig’s chemistry while not bad is not fully utilised in the film, with perhaps a mere 10 minutes or so screen time dedicated to establishing and growing a bond between Walter and Cheryl. Stiller spends to much time coming up with spectacle when an ace up his sleeve may have been more time spent in the real world letting the audience see and feel the love blossoming between the two lost souls. With a story that does not live up to it’s full potential the film does however showcase a talent Stiller has never shown before with a keen eye for detail, a well edited pace and perfectly chosen musical score all adding up to display that Stiller is more than a mere comedy director.
Walter Mitty is an enjoyable tale sure to please many both young and old, even though one feels that deep down there is a more profound and fully formed version that could of sprung to life. As a tale about finally doing not merely dreaming it’s a perfectly adequate movie with many a stunning image, an easy going atmosphere and the movie is hopefully a stepping stone for Stiller to tackle even more challenging material in the future and create a classic for the ages that he wanted to do with this movie.
3 and a half Stretch Armstrong’s out of 5