‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ Review: Ben Stiller entertains, but the film splits the audience
James Thurber’s classic story is headed to the big screen with Ben Stiller as the titular character. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty sadly will divide the audience and critics alike between those who love it and those who hate it.
Walter Mitty is a LIFE Magazine ‘negative asset manager’ who daydreams of adventure and boldness, but is thrust into the world on a hunt for the star photographer (Sean Penn) in the middle of a hostile corporate restructuring.
Mitty travels around the globe, torn between a world where he’s attempting to win over the attention of a co-worker (Kristen Wiig), bantering with his eHarmony-style agent (Patten Oswalt) and struggling to escape the scars of his youth.
Stiller is more concerned about visuals here than Dodgeball humor. The film’s first half, filled with hysterical daydream sequences and gags, is somewhat disconnected to Walter’s abrupt boldness to embark on this journey.
Adam Scott plays the “villain” and the choice of his bold, black beard is distracting in almost every scene and a joke or two doesn’t stop the audience from seeing him as a peevish schoolyard bully. Stiller never seems to find the right balance and will divide the audience into lovers or haters depending on their emotional station in life.
The twists are only ¼ entertaining and mostly predictable with most viewers waiting for the next Patten Oswalt moment.
Overall: Walter Mitty receives 2 stars out of 5
Qualifier: Some folks will find inspiration and a rewarding tale to give the film 4 stars out of 5
(I just don’t see it)
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty opens Christmas Day.