The best thing, worst thing, and main thing about the Ben Stiller flick “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” in about the time it takes to watch the trailer. Don’t forget to take a shot at the “Best Ever” challenge in the comments!
If this was already a short story AND a movie I really don’t think Walter’s doing a very good job at keeping it a secret.
“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” stars Ben Stiller as Walter Mitty, a low level employ at Life magazine whose day dreaming fantasies threatened to be the only real adventure in his life. Kristen Wiig steps in as a seemingly unattainable love interest and Sean Penn as a daring photographer who Walter has always admired. Based on the James Thurber short story from the 30s and previously done as a Danny Kaye movie in 1947 we get another look into the world’s most vivid daydreamer. By the way,d o yourself a favor, search for Danny Kaye’s “Symphony for the Unstrung Tongue” on YouTube. It’s from the original “Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and it has more life in it in 7 minutes then this entire movie does in over two hours. Seriously, How can a movie with this much visual flair seem so flat and uninteresting?
It’s certainly not my eyes that were bored. In fact, I’d say the way Mitty’s daydreams were filmed and presented is probably the best thing about the movie. These visualizations jump off the screen in really fun and creative ways. And it’s not my ears that were bored, I loved the way music was used in this to both tell the story and evoke emotion. There are some really beautiful musical moments in it. No, I think at the end of the day, the movie just didn’t quite work for me because my heart was bored. And I don’t think that’s Ben Stiller the actors fault, I think it’s Ben Stiller the director.
I mean it’s not like any of the actors are horrible, but they all seem to be operating with this very muted tone, and if that’s supposed to be some sort of counterpoint to the fantasy and adventure in the film I just don’t quite think it works and it leaves me without a way to connect to these characters. Instead of finding myself feeling for Ben Stiller’s character and experience any growth with him I just find myself confused about his motivations or lack of personality. And that’s the worst thing in a movie that needs you to go on an adventure with it’s protagonist. Plus, I did feel like some of the daydreams slipped into overt parody making those scenes feel more like an SNL skit than a serious dramatic film. And one more thing that bothered me. The ending. For a movie that seemed to want to emphasize creativity and the pursuit of adventure, the final resolution felt strangely pedestrian and predictable. Now if the rest of the movie had been more compelling and emotionally engaging I probably could have forgiven it easier, but as it was it just put a blah finish on an already surprisingly blah film.
All in All, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” is like that guy that wears the flashiest clothes and somehow has the personality of a doorknob. It looks interesting enough, but at the end of the day there isn’t much to it. I give it a not so secret C.
Thanks for checking out this Your Movie Friend review, stay tuned for this review’s “Best Ever” challenge here in bit but first, I’m going to put up some stuff you can click over in this area. If you’d like to subscribe, which I would much appreciate, you can do so by clicking the big gray subscribe button. Want to see more reviews? You can click here to see reviews for Grudge Match, 47 Ronin, Wolf of Wall Street or the new Justin Bieber documentary.. You can also Click the logo up here to go to yourmoviefriend.com where you can search by title for reviews. Oh and I’ll try to remember to throw a link somewhere over here to that Danny Kaye clip. And finally this review’s “Best Ever” Challenge, where you name the best movie ever in a particular category and also try to identify my choice. What is the “the best Ben Stiller movie ever”. It doesn’t have to be one he directed and acted in, but it just so happens that mine is and also features an amazing scene set at Medieval Times. Drop your own answer and a guess at mine in the comments and first person to guess mine gets a point! Thanks and don’t forget to subscribe!