Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: Psst See It

Ben Stiller as Walter Mitty

In 1939, James Thurber wrote the short story.
In 1947, Danny Kaye starred in the movie.
Now, Ben Stiller is Walter Mitty in the remake.

It's been said that Thurber hated the first movie. We'll never know what he'd think of the third incarnation of his story about a timid young man who escapes his dreary life by daydreaming about great adventures fraught with danger.

But the Movie Slut loved it.

Stiller is an ideal Mitty. Today we call this daydreaming "zoning out" and there's fun and humor in his transitions from shy, awkward office wonk to swashbuckling adventurer. Kristin Wiig is also right on as his love interest. And Sean Penn, in a cameo, as the true adventurer who lures Walter away from his safe existence, gives an amazing performance.

Some of the modern flourishes in the movie work better than others and the tacked-on editorializing about the treatment of downsized employees belongs in another film.

Still this flight of fancy soars. 

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