Cinema Review: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Studio: 20th Century Fox
Directed by Ben Stiller

Dec 23, 2013 Web Exclusive
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Middle-aged film processor Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) is a dreamer. From time to time, he’ll disappear into his own fantasy world, where’s he’s an adventurer, a romantic, or an otherwise interesting person. In real life, he’s anything but. He’s a shy loner who’s done nothing with his life out of barely-explained fears; he’s too afraid to ask out his divorced coworker (Kristen Wiig), and the “been there, done that” heading of his online dating profile is intentionally blank. This changes when he loses an important negative,and a smarmy transitions expert (Adam Scott) threatens to fire him from his Life magazine gig if he can’t find it, Mitty is forced to take action and embark on an around-the-world search for an elusive photographer.

Stiller’s adaptation of James Thurber’s beloved short story wastes its source material; Mitty’s flights of fancy here are a missed opportunity. In the beginning they’re whimsically doofy, but by the end of the first act the character’s actual adventure is way more thrilling than anything he’d dreamed up. There’s no explanation for his change in demeanor; one moment he’s meek, and the next he’s jumping from a helicopter into shark-infested ocean waters. While the original Mitty was a heartbreakingly sad figure, this Mitty is a weak parable for living life to the fullest (or something like that.) The tactics taken to force the inspirational message are especially cheap: who ever thought a slow-motion action scene set to Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up” could feel this manipulative?

Author rating: 3/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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