Ah my Christmas day movie and not only that I got to watch it in my favorite theater, The Grandin Theater in Roanoke Virginia. So yes, after seeing Saving Mr. Banks, I saw the second movie on my list The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. A retelling of a 1947 movie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is the brain child of comedian Ben Stiller. As the years have gone by, I have really become a big fan of Ben Stiller’s work. In particular with films that he has directed. Tropic Thunder and Zoolander have proven to be very effective and very funny movies and Cable Guy, while being heavily dated was not a bad film to watch. (Reality Bites I have not seen). The Secret Life of Walter Mitty seems to be Stiller’s first attempt at dipping his toe into more serious waters. Don’t get me wrong though, this film is really funny as well. But I think it does show the range that Stiller can reach and not just stay in the comedy genre.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is the story of a man named Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) who works for LIFE Magazine. He is a man who has done very little with his life and has fallen for a girl in his office named Cheryl Melhoff (Kristen Wiig) and has formed an eHarmony account in order to set up a date between the two. At LIFE, The company has decided to stop posting hard copy magazines and transfer to an electronic only news distribution. Because of this the company is now downsizing and many jobs are being cut. Working in the photo development department means that Walter’s job is not necessarily secure with this new shift. He receives a roll of film from a photojournalist who works for the company called Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn) and asked that the 25th photo on the roll be chosen for the final cover of LIFE Magazine. However, the 25th photo is missing and without the photo the man in charge of downsizing the company Ted Hendricks (Adam Scott) will fire him. So Walter decides to go searching for Sean O’Connell to obtain the 25th photo. Throughout the film Walter begins to experience life as he travels to places like Greenland, Iceland, and Afghanistan all to find the elusive O’Connell.
The Go And Do It Message is Heart Warming
The movie is a very heart warming feel good story. The lows are not very low and the highs are astonishing. It is a very simple message to just say go out and do it. Go out and live life and you will find enjoyment where you go. It is an interesting concept and one that has been done before.
I’ll be honest, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is nothing ground breaking. It is a simple tried and true feel good story of a person who is tired of the monotony of life, finds something that makes him see the world, and discovers himself through his journey. It has been done before. But that doesn’t mean it won’t give you a touching feeling when you see it.
So Much Product Placement!
It… is… EVERYWHERE! And it never relents! Papa Johns and eHarmony practically get a two-hour long commercial with Careerbuilder also gets a little bit of publicity as well. I can understand that you need to fund a movie and sponsors are a really good way to get that done. But I have not seen this much blatant product placement in a movie for a very long time. Unless you are brought in by the advertisements and feel an itching loneliness and decide to join eHarmony or want to devour your sorrows with an extra-large pepperoni pizza, it will get very annoying.
The Day Dreaming Scenes are Grand Spectacles and the Least Interesting Parts of the Movie
I did enjoy the film and the moments of him adventuring around the world. But the one thing that was just annoying was Mitty’s day dreams. I think we have all had that moment. You day dream about being the badass hero who rescues a bunch of people and a three-legged dog from a burning building and then get the person of your dreams or the moment when you come up with the perfect zinger towards your asshole boss, but of course do not say it and one or two of these day dreams was kind of funny. But after a while they just started to wear thin. The grand battle where Mitty and his boss are street surfing through the streets was over done, the reverse Benjamin Buttons scene was not funny, and for the most part they just distracted me from the movie.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a simple, tried, and true concept. It has been done before… But it was done well. There may have been excessive product placement and the day dreaming scenes can wear thin. But this is still a movie that is worth a watch. If you are feeling down or depressed, one watch of this movie will get you laughing and feeling better.
Final Score 2.5/5
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