The Secret Life of Walter Mitty FeaturedWritten by Jon Patch
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Red Hour Films, TSG Entertainment, Samuel Goldwyn Films and New Line Cinema present a 114 minute, PG, adventure, comedy, drama, directed by Ben Stiller, screenplay by Steve Conrad and based on the short story by James Thurber with a theater release date of December 25, 2013.
Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) who just turned 42 is a Negative Asset Manager for LIFE Magazine and spends some of his spare time on E Harmony looking for that perfect woman who happens to be in his mind a woman who works in his office, Cheryl Melhoff (Kristen Wiig) single mother of one son, Rich (Marcus Antturi). He did however make a friend at E Harmony who happens to work there, Todd (Patton Oswalt) who happens to be more of a nuisance to the story line than levity during his phone conversations at some very inopportune times in the film. Walter has a tendency to zone out from time to time escaping reality and fading off into a world of fantasy, one that contains his desired ABC’s of life, adventurous, brave and creative. He is trying to move his mother Edna (Shirley MacLaine) to a new villa with the help or no help of his sister Odessa (Kathryn Hahn) who happens to be too busy trying to land the part as Rizzo in the play “Grease”.
This month’s issue is the last for LIFE Magazine and his boss Ted Hendricks (Adam Scott), Managing Director of the Transition, to LIFE Online, is not only a pain in the butt, ruthless and self-centered while sporting a dark beard but is in dire need of Kodak negative #25 taken by the world’s best known photographer who happens to be a fan of Walter’s dedication, Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn). One major problem, Walter found in the package sent to him from Sean all the negatives along with a leather wallet and a note that came to his attention had everything but #25 which is supposed to be the last cover for LIFE.
Walter ventures away from his fantasy world of explosions, super-powers, saving dogs, Benjamin Buttons and the Arctic chill to that of reality in search of the whereabouts of Sean and #25, so he can find the last cover of LIFE for his obnoxious boss. Walter travels to Greenland using some of the pictures that Sean did send as clues to his whereabouts. Walter ends up battling in real life some of the obstacles he normally only fantasized about making all his dreams come true. Volcanoes, sharks, freezing waters, drunken pilot, he soon ends up in Iceland where he bikes it, runs it and soon skate boards it all in search of Sean and that picture.
Back home defeated he discovers that LIFE is ending faster than he thought, Cheryl is no longer working at the company and he gets fired for not having negative #25, the last cover of LIFE. Mother always knows best and in this case it leads Walter all alone back out into the world hiking the Himalayas, traveling throughout Afghanistan and sharing cake with the warlords. Later to stumble upon Sean taking a picture of a snow leopard known as the ghost cat. What was the Picture? As he travels back through Los Angeles to New York with three hundred winks and counting, Walter hits the world creating a resume later finding out that not all things seem as they appear and that sometimes the end of life is truly a new beginning but this time with a higher profile and a look like Indiana Jones.
Stiller does a beautiful job directing this story with some unbelievable and breath-taking cinematography along with some very artistically placed statements and words throughout the story but it is the writing that seems to lose its way along this journey. I can totally see where the director and writers wanted to go with this story but they did not quite achieve it. Although to accompaniment the majestic backdrops on Walter’s journey the soundtrack is superb. I only wish there was less of the E Harmony guy in this Ally McBeal take on Walter’s life. If you have seen the show I refer to years ago on television then you’ll know the reference. Either way it is a nicely done story that loses its way slightly but still worth seeing at least once.
Stiller pulls off a more dramatic role and even looks pretty good in the part taking on the world to save the day. Wiig is more of a prop for Stiller’s character but she fills it quite nicely. MacLaine and Hahn do not have huge roles but help to add enough to keep the story line moving. Scott is also a nice addition to the story along with a varying cast of other characters in the LIFE office and during Walter’s journey. Too bad we don’t get to experience more of Penn but his small cameo seems to work quite well. Albeit a visually exciting film with decent direction and a little lost writing but still worth seeing. Written and enjoyed with two paws out of four by Jon Patch.
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