Release date: December 25, 2013
Directed by: Ben Stiller
Written by: Steve Conrad
Starring: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott, Patton Oswalt, Adrian Hernandez, and Sean Penn
Official website: WalterMitty.com
Somewhat based on the famous short story by James Thurber, the 2013 version of "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" has Ben Stiller as our man Walter, a daydreaming employee at LIFE magazine, which is about to produce it's final print issue. The new head honcho, played by Adam Scott (Parks and Rec, Party Down) is taking the magazine into the digital age and in addition to choosing the mag's final cover picture, he also plans on firing just about everyone in the building.
Cue our hero, Walter, who is a dedicated worker, with a special unspoken relationship with a world renowned photographer, played by Sean Penn, who claims he has a photo that is the "quintessence" of LIFE magazine. Only the photo negative has gone missing. With jobs on the line, including that of his office crush, played by Kristen Wiig, Walter Mitty sets out on a globe-trotting adventure to find the photographer and be the hero for once.
This new "Walter Mitty" differs greatly from both the 1947 film featuring Danny Kaye, and the Thurber short, which was originally published in 1939. The only theme that remains intact really is Mitty being a day dreamer who yearns to be a better man than he is. Stiller doubles as director on this film and he delivers a visually stunning movie with a great mix of humor, fantastic energy, and heartwarming moments.
The best parts of the movie revolve around Mitty and his crazy day crazy day dream sequences. Whether he is saving a three-legged dog from a burning building, or engaging in death-defying hand to hand aerial combat across New York City, Walter is an engaging character when the audience is allowed into his head.
As dazzling and brilliant as the first half of the movie, it derails it self a bit with a grinding third act. "Walter Mitty" is at its best when its surprising the audience by, for example, spoofing a Brad Pitt movie. But there are times when the film falls into a pit of its own cliches and redundancy. For the most part it feels like it is just flying by, but there is definitely a point where it stops being fun, and becomes surprisingly calculated.
But its not enough to derail the movie completely, which for the most part is a fun movie with a big heart. And despite a slow and somewhat predicable second half, the movie is a beautiful cinematic experience and is hands down one of the best film's of Ben Stiller's career.
Rating: Rated PG-13 for sports action violence, sexual content and language
Running time: 1 hour 54 minutes
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