Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) has done very little with his life and spends the majority of his time dreaming half his life away (RIP Phil Everly) by imagining a series of extravagant stunts and life threatening situations. In some of his dreams he impresses a certain Cheryl Melhoff (Kristen Wigg) of whom Walter has a crush on (I concede I do this regularly). Walter’s uneventful life is about a change as a missing negative will lead Walter to places like Greenland, Iceland and Afghanistan in which he experiences a number of memorable moments including a volcanic eruption. Whilst this is happening Life magazine is undergoing a transition from print to online media placing a number of jobs at risk.
Based on the short story by James Thurber, of the same name, Ben Stiller’s sixth directorial effort isn’t without moments of charm, but overall Stiller’s version of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a rather dull affair. There are moments in which the film has charm and heart, especially between Ben Stiller the Kristen Wigg, who share a great chemistry, but when Walter Mitty is off swimming in freezing oceans and escaping from volcanic ash the film loses that element of sweetness that is so evident when Wigg and Stiller share the screen. The issue is that excitement of Walter’s various adventures does not successfully replace the enjoyable nature of Walter and Cheryl’s relationship. When Mitty is away from Melhoff one is left admiring and stunning landscapes of Iceland and Greenland which are magnificently shot by Stuart Dryburgh (it is so beautiful that it made me want to go Iceland).
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty has its amusing moments (dating website error, Todd from eHarmony and stretch man are highlights), but Mitty’s day dreams become quickly tiresome (thankfully, they eventually become less frequent when Walter begins to live life). I was left wanting more screen time devoted to Wigg and Stiller as the pair are the heart and soul of the film and were a joy to watch, but there wasn’t anything greatly appealing when Walter was off on his own adventures.
I love this song....