“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”: In Review

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”

Release Date: Wednesday December 25, 2013

MPAA Rating: PG for some crude comments, language, and action violence.

Run Time: 114 Minutes

Cast: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Sean Penn, Patton Oswalt

The weather is cold, the carols have been sung, and the trees are adorned with tacky ornaments passed down from generation to generation.  It’s Christmas time here in Kansas City and nothing says “Merry Christmas” quite like the release of a cheesy, feel good family film.  “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, which hit theaters nationwide yesterday, fits the bill.  Directed and starred by comedian Ben Stiller (“Dodgeball”, “There’s Something About Mary”), “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” dares you to dream.  Set in modern day New York City, the movie follows the day to day activity of Walter Mitty, who works at “Life” magazine as a negative asset manager.  The dullness of his daily routine is broken up by the wild fantasies and daydreams that captivate his attention throughout much of the film.  Mitty’s life is turned upside down when his longtime acquaintance and famous photographer Sean O’Connell (played by Sean Penn) sends Walter a roll of film with a missing negative.  It just so happens that particular negative, number 25, is what O’Connell describes as the quintessence of life.  With his career on the line, Walter sets off on an adventure to find the missing negative and discover what life is really about.

At first glance, this fun and quirky movie is liken to an adventure version of “Stranger Than Fiction”, but once you get into the heart of the film, you begin to recognize the deeper meaning of it all.  With each step in Mitty’s quest to find the missing film, he’s faced with new challenges and opportunities to experience life in ways he could only dream of.  The motto of the magazine, “To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other and to feel. That is the purpose of life,” is reiterated throughout the entire movie with each new circumstance Walter faces.  The lesson moviegoers are encouraged to walk away with is to allow your dreams to become reality- that’s what life is really all about, after all, right?

Overall, this feel good movie has a sweet story line.  I was underwhelmed with the comedic relief that Patton Oswalt’s character (Todd Maher) is intended to provide.  Beyond that minor issue, I thought that the movie had a decent plot, a great message, and some laughs along the way.  Audience members will fall in like (because love might be a little strong) with Walter Mitty.  You’ll root for him, and you’ll be happy that you did.

On my scale from 1 to 10 where 1 is the worst, 5 is the best, and 10 is the worst again, I give “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” a 7.354 with an emoticon based sub ranking of “Awwww, that was sweet…”

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