Based on the novel of the same name by James Thurber, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is the story of a mild mannered hard-working man who tends to drift off into another world, which is filled with adventure and heroism. The last time Stiller got behind the camera was the hit and miss Tropic Thunder in 2008 and in honesty he hasn’t really done much in front of the camera for quite some time either so it’s fair to go in with low expectations. You’ll be glad to know though, that he delivers in front of and behind the camera with a heart-warming tale of adventure and blossoming love.
Walter Mitty (Stiller) works for Life magazine, in the negatives for photography department, but the magazine is going digital and in so doing must cut jobs as part of the reorganisation. Adding to Walter’s problem’s is the fact the he is a regular daydreamer, which the assessors notice very quickly. When Walter is tasked with providing a photo by famous photographer Sean O’Connell (Penn) for the final cover of the magazine he cannot locate it and is forced to go on a real life adventure in order to track him down and ensure his department closes on a high. In order to achieve success Walter must go way outside his comfort zone and also hope that his efforts attract the attention of new girl in the office Cheryl (Wiig).
The premise may seem silly and it easily could have fallen flat on its face, but this is one of the best-realised ideas you are likely to see on screen for a while. The beauty in the whole endeavour is making Walter such a fantastic person that you will be fighting for him from the off and Stiller plays the part perfectly. Wiig is just lovely as the selfless single mother and Scott is genuinely dickish as the douchebag company assessor that you expect he would be. Topping it all off is some absolutely stunning on location footage, Iceland in particular, and a perfectly put together soundtrack as Walter adventures across the world searching for more than just the picture.
Good fun and heartwarming, there isn’t a soul in the world who won’t like this movie as Stiller delivers what is undoubtedly the most intelligent and mature work he as ever done.