There’s a fine line between inspirational and cloying, and this movie teeters dangerously on the brink the entire film. I found that half the time I went along for the ride, while the other half I had to distance myself from the main character.
Walter Mitty is a really old character updated here as a writer for Life Magazine during the period when they were getting out of the print business. Mitty (Ben Stiller) is assigned to photograph for the final cover, but discovers the picture he needs has been lost, and the only way he can track it down is to find the ever elusive “free spirit” photographer played by Sean Penn.
Along this journey he dives out of helicopters into shark infested waters, skateboards into a volcano all the while talking on the phone to his match.com profile expert.
Those familiar with the original story, which I was not I will admit, will also note Mitty frequently kind of just blanks out on real life and starts having very elaborate daydreams about performing feats of heroism and whatnot, to the point that having such a moment has long been referred to as a “Mitty Moment”.
Several times during this movie I found myself having such moments, which may explain how it is that I viewed it so recently but remember so very little about it.
I would say this was a disappointing movie, but I went into this with very minimal expectations, and they were just barely met. See it if you’re in the mood for a feel good Ben Stiller movie, and have already seen all the good ones.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty gets a two out of five: FORGETTABLE.