The first ten or fifteen minutes of Ben Stiller's remake of the classic "Secret Life of Walter Mitty" is enough to make you want to leave the theatre. When the plot finally settles down and begins to make sense it's tolerable but far from memorable. I'm sure this is not what James Thurber in mind when he wrote the original short story that appeared in The New Yorker magazine in 1939. But that's a whole another story.
Ben Stiller stars and directs this new film which struggles for almost two hours to make sense. He plays this shy, nerdy sort of guy who's a photo lab technician for Life and is responsible for the picture that will be on the magazine's final cover, before it goes out of business. He day dreams a lot, imagining feats of daring like rescuing people from a building just before it blows up or having a knockdown, drag out street fight with the guy whose going to fire him.
When the cover picture can't be found, he's off to track down the famous photographer who took it, played by Sean Penn. Now is this another dream, or is it for real? We then have a travelogue taking us to Greenland and then Iceland with amazing cinematography, including an erupting volcano. by Stuart Dryburgh. Many moments are spent gazing at scenery that has little to do with the plot, but looks pretty.
There are a couple of nice performances in smaller roles. Kristen Wilig as a co-worker at Life and Katheryn as Mitty's sister. Hats off also to Shirley MacLaine as Mitty's mother. A great actress doesn't mind showing her age. Oh, do you know about product placement? That's when popular consumer products keep showing up on the screen. There's more of it in this movie than I've seen before including, KFC, eHarmony, Nabisco, Heineken, Facebook, Careerbuilders.com, and McDonalds.
Time: 1 hr 54 minutes
Rating: PG for some crude comments, language and action violence. Kids will bored.
Filed under: Movie Reviews