Short reviews for clear and concise verdicts on a broad range of films…
Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) could be considered two types of character. Many compare Mitty to Forrest Gump. I believe this is unfair and inaccurate, and rather than a man with a low IQ, I’d compare him to Joel in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Creative, shy and socially awkward – but hardly Gump-like. Mitty aspires to be more than the office drone for LIFE magazine. He day-dreams of exploding buildings so that he can save the dog to woo his colleague Cheryl (Wiig). He looks up to photographer extraordinaire Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn). Mitty’s decision to board a plane to Greenland and find O’Connell himself is shot in the same manner as the explosive dream; therefore it’s unclear from this point what is and is not a dream. The wide-landscapes and stunning vistas are offset by bolshy in-product-advertising by E-Harmony and Papa Johns. Ben Stiller seems to have snagged himself an all-expense paid trip to the Himalayas and the crew to document it in the production crew. Does he want us all to pack in our jobs and become photographers? Or shall we pity his pessimistic attitude towards his own social standing? A job at LIFE magazine is brilliant. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is weak and unconvincing. Rather than Into the Wild, it’s ‘Into the Bland’ as Stiller manages to bore us with music-video montages and pseudo-inspirational points. Stiller wants us to punch the air but this all a dream and we are merely watching a filmmaker’s bucket-list.