“Walter Mitty” Excels In This Latest Adaptation

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

MV5BODYwNDYxNDk1Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTAwMTk2MDE@._V1_SX640_SY720_Release Date: December 25, 2013
Cast: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Shirley MacLaine, Adam Scott, Kathryn Hahn, Sean Penn, Patton Oswalt
Director: Ben Stiller
Studio: Samuel Goldwyn Films, Red Hour Films, New Line Cinema
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Genre(s): Drama, Book Adaptation
Based On James Thurber’s Short Story of the Same Name 

Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Spoilers: Low
IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes | Wikipedia

I need to point something out here. Ben Stiller and 20th Century Fox were not the first people to think about making a film with a modern day Walter Mitty. That was totally me and my friends Sean Orth and Trevor Grizzell back in high school. I don’t remember anything about it beyond the fact that maybe it was for an English class and that while day dreaming out modern day Walter ran somebody down in the parking lot of the bank where Trevor worked as a teller.

So, you know, give credit where credit is due.

I mean, okay. This Ben Stiller version is pretty great. Definitely better than my version. I pretty much knew from the moment I saw the first trailer that I was going to like it but I was surprised at how much I really enjoyed it. It’s a really cute movie. That’s really the best way for me to describe it. It’s a cute movie about a guy who realizes his life isn’t really going anywhere.  He’s opened up an online dating profile but has nothing to fill it with. He’s got a thing for a co-worker but doesn’t know how to approach her. He has spent his whole life processing photographs for Life magazine.

And now the magazine is closing down to move entirely online.

Suddenly Walter, whose been the dependable sort ever since his dad died when he was in high school, finds himself going out on the sort of adventures he could only dream about before. When the negative for the image meant to be used on the final cover of LIFE turns up missing it’s up to Walter to track down the photographer and get a new one. The problem? This very photographer has made a career out of venturing into the most unreachable parts of the world. Walter’s search for him turns into more of a search for self as he realizes his worth and that you really can take charge of your own life. He tackles a volcano, mountains, US customs, an asshole boss (played by Adam Scott), and his own feelings for his co-worker Cheryl.

I was surprised at how well the cast worked together. Ben Stiller plays Walter Mitty in what is far more of a serious than comedic role. This is not a comedy at all but that doesn’t stop Stiller who adapts to the dramatic role to bring us a sad, quiet, and yet idealistic Mitty. And he and Kristen Wiig actually had a ton of great on screen chemistry. It’s not the sort of powerhouse celebrity pairing you’d expect to fall for but shit. I ship it. I ship it hard. And Sean Penn. I love Sean Penn. He was perfect as always. Oh, Patton Oswalt! Patton Oswalt was great as the date site customer service guy who you have to wonder about whether or not he’s even real.

The whole movie just fun. The characters are great. (Okay, so, maybe Adam Scott’s character is annoying.)  The story is never boring. And the credits were really adorable. It’s a sequence of photos from the movie, from Walter’s travels, from his past, and just stills of the characters in various settings adn times. It was really cute. They couldn’t have been more perfect. Seriously, whoever put together those images is getting a total A+ from me on that.

Honestly, I don’t know why it took me so long to write this review. I saw it over the holidays and it was just such a great movie. But – as you can tell from this review – I have a hard time expressing just how great it is in words. I want everyone to watch it and discover this movie for themselves without spoiling too much because I don’t know. Maybe I’m building it up too much. But if you’re thinking about watching it, definitely do.

Final Thoughts: 
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is one of those movies that doesn’t get quite enough credit. From what I can tell it got pretty much split reviews from critics and it has a 75% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But I loved it. I thought it was great. When it comes out on blu ray in April I’m probably going to be getting it on blu ray. Because c’mon. It’s that good.

2 responses to ““Walter Mitty” Excels In This Latest Adaptation

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