Flash Movie Review: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Daydreams are like the morning dew on budding ambitions. For inside those daydreams is the pollen of ideas. Many of us have daydreamed at one time or another; I am a firm believer in them. Daydreams provide me a safe haven to let my mind wander untethered from my required responsibilities. Sitting in a waiting room while my car is being serviced provides me time to take a mental vacation to a warm exotic place as the drifting snow outside the dealership fades away from my vision. After I lost my weight many years ago I used to daydream of being a dancer, specifically a go-go dancer. It was not because I was looking for adulation. After being uncomfortable in my body for so long, I wanted to see how it would feel to let go in a very vulnerable way and not give any thought to how I looked to other people. This dream stayed with me for some time but I never had the courage to follow through with it. However, that daydream played a factor in my pursuit of becoming an aerobic instructor. Finding myself in a physical activity where I was not being teased or judged gave me more confidence than I had ever experienced before. Someone else who had a fondness for daydreaming was Walter Mitty, played by Ben Stiller (Tropic Thunder, The Watch). To disappear from his uneventful life, Walter would escape into his daydreams of adventure and heroics. When his job position was threatened with elimination, Walter had to take off on a real adventure he never imagined in the hope of saving his job. Based on James Thurber’s short story of the same name, this adventure dramedy was not a remake of the Danny Kaye film. Directed by Ben, I enjoyed the flow of the story. There were several scenes that were visually stunning. I have to say those same scenes were the most engaging. If there was not some adventure taking place on screen I then found the story becoming weak, lacking any energy. The parts where Ben and Kristen Wiig (Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Bridesmaids), who played fellow employee Cheryl Melhoff, were together I found almost boring. It was funny because I wished the short scenes that had Shirley MacLaine (The Apartment, Terms of Endearment) as Walter’s mother Edna, would have been longer. This award winning movie was  a good effort but the people involved in making it would have done better if they had dreamt bigger.


2 1/4 stars

About moviejoltz

From a long line of movie afficionados, one brother was the #1 renter of movies in the country with Blockbuster, I am following in the same traditions that came before me. To balance out the long hours seated in dark movie theaters, I also teach yoga and cycling. For the past 3 years, I have correctly picked the major Oscar winners... so join me as we explore the wonder of movies and search for that perfect 4 star movie.

Posted on December 31, 2013, in Dramedy and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. Mostly agreed. I too am tepid on this one; I neither love not hate it.

    I actually rather enjoyed the rom-com parts, though. It was the over-coincidental mystery investigation that bothered me.

  2. Hopeful New Year, moviejoltz!

  3. I’m still trying to piece together my thoughts on this one. I think I liked it a little more than you but I’ve delayed my review as I try to weigh the strengths and flaws.

  4. Saw Walter Mitty today. I actually enjoyed those quite “uneventful” moments with Kristen Wiig. It was a good balance between his mundane life and the places he wanted to go (including in his head). Oh and yes, visionally stunning too. Is there anything Sean Penn is not good in ? Perfect cameo ! (Almost makes me think that he was playing himself).

  5. Don’t like Ben stiller

  6. I can’t imagine this matching or exceeding the Danny Kaye version. Maybe it will play better to people young enough never to experience that version.

  7. Daydreams are like when I open a book, I open my mind to a new adventure one word at a time.

  8. Theatre of Pain

    Hey MJ,
    I think I’m going to pass on this one. I was turned off by the fact that it is being hailed as “this decades Forrest Gump” and for me that sets the bar extremely high as Forrest Gump is one of the best movies I’ve ever watched. Given the amount of hype being built up around Mitty and your tepid review, I would wager it to be a recipe for disappointment.

    • I had not heard about the Forrest Gump comparison–what a travesty. I am glad I did not know this before I saw the film because I really would have been upset. Thanks for all of your comments.

  9. Haven’t seen it yet, but from the obnoxious trailer presented so ubiquitously on every Yahoo! page I wouldn’t give it even a single star. Thank you for a great review/confirmation/warning, thoiugh. 🙂

  10. What’s the major difference between this one and the original film? (I haven’t seen any of them).

    • If you are referring to the Danny Kaye film, it had a special lightness and created a better sense of fun. I will say this current version is supposed to be closer in line with the short story. Thanks for coming by and leaving your comments.

  11. This movie looks really clever and creative, (or rather the book is) but I look forward to seeing the movie.

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