The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Film Review by Josh Slater-Williams | 20 Dec 2013
Film title: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Director: Ben Stiller
Starring: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott, Sean Penn, Shirley MacLaine, Kathryn Hahn, Patton Oswalt, Adrian Martinez
Release date: 26 Dec
Certificate: PG

Based on James Thurber’s short story, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty stars its director Ben Stiller as an inexpressive, daydreaming underachiever who, provoked by a takeover at the print magazine he works for, finally takes risks and embarks on a convoluted global journey. The takeover is led by a felt-bearded Adam Scott, who plays an even more one-dimensional bastard than his character in Will Ferrell comedy Step Brothers. Two hours of gloopy, insipid, narcissistic wish fulfilment ensues, alongside an uncomfortably extended promotion for dating site eHarmony.

Credit goes to Kristen Wiig, for her turns in the more comedic daydream sequences, and it’s encouraging to see a Hollywood actor-director try out such a visually playful feature on a fairly big studio budget, even if that visual language and the cheap, undercooked sentiments at its core mean it won't feel out of place in the company of the adverts that will precede it at the cinema. Horribly on-the-nose uses of Space Oddity and Arcade Fire’s Wake Up work against it, too. [Josh Slater-Williams]