Monday, January 6, 2014

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - ***

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is exactly the film that Ben Stiller set out to make, for better or worse. It’s incredibly uneven, takes forever to take off, and is unexpectedly bogged down by an excess of seemingly unnecessary plot exposition, but there’s passion infused in every frame, and there’s something wonderful about that which makes most of the film’s flaws forgivable, if not lovable.

Stiller plays the title character, a tenured, unappreciated photo lab grunt at Life Magazine, who loses an important photograph by the famed recluse photographer, Sean O’Connell (played by Sean Penn in a cameo so good I almost wish the whole film had centered around him), expected to be the cover shot of the final issue of the magazine. Lost, lonely, and lovelorn, Stiller’s Walter Mitty sets out on an adventure to find O’Connell and infuse his life with meaning. He also hopes to win the affections of a new payroll clerk in his office with whom he’s been trying to connect via an online dating website; however, the site restricts his access due to an incomplete profile left blank because he’s never been anywhere or done anything noteworthy.

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