Movie Review: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

Ben Stiller, 2013 movie review

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
is actually a remake of the 1947 movie of the same name, which was based on a 1939 short story by James Thurber. It was in a book called My World and Welcome to It, which was then turned into a one-season TV show, from 1969-70. This version of Walter has an all-star cast, of which it makes ample use, and it's definitely one of the more unique movies I've seen this year.

Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) works in negative assets protection at Life magazine, meaning that he is in charge of all the photograph negatives that come through the building. Life has just announced that it will be moving to an online publication, and the person facilitating this transition (Adam Scott) wants the newest Sean O'Connell photograph from him for the cover of the last ever issue of Life. There's one problem, though: Walter never received that photo from Sean O'Connell, and Sean is nowhere to be found. With the help of his coworker Cheryl (Kristen Wiig), they track him to Greenland, and Walter makes an impulsive decision to jump on a plane and fly there in the hopes of finding Sean and the missing photograph negative.

The first third of this movie enacts many of Walter's daydreams, which is quite funny - there's a scene where he and Adam Scott's character are tangling in the NYC streets, and it's something you'd expect to see in a Spiderman movie and not this one. The middle third of the movie is about Walter's adventures in Iceland and Greenland, of which there are many, because Walter has not traveled much in his lifetime. Kathryn Hahn plays his flaky sister, as well, and Shirley MacLaine plays Walter's mother, as well as Sean Penn as the acclaimed photographer Sean O'Connell; all have good supporting roles here. Stiller and Wiig's characters are both quirky enough that they have good chemistry together, too.

Yes, see this movie. The music was great in it and the scenery and cinematography is some of the best I've seen this year, with shots of Iceland and possibly Greenland (or, Iceland posing as Greenland). There's also a funny running joke throughout about Walter and his eHarmony account, which I found especially funny since I am a user of that site. I really liked Ben Stiller in the title role, as well, because he brings a certain amount of the awkwardness and also seriousness needed for the role. Walter Mitty might not be a movie for everyone, but I definitely enjoyed it, and I would recommend it as a fun movie to see over the holiday weekend.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is in theaters today, December 25th, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 114 minutes. 3.5 stars out of 5.

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