Stories of personal discovery are not something Hollywood is short of. However ones that feature sharks, climbing mountains and skateboarding into a volcanic eruption are something entirely different. This is what we get from Ben Stiller’s latest directorial offering in which he plays Walter Mitty, a typical dreamer and quiet-type looking for love in the form of his co-worker Cheryl (Kristen Wiig). Walter usually spends his time conjuring up situations of heroism and adventure but when his job at LIFE magazine is in jeopardy he makes these dreams a reality, tracking down a missing negative from renowned photographer Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn).
There is no doubt that the film is stunning to watch, daring landscape shots of oceans and mountain ranges are simply breathtaking, and wonderfully complimented by a shudder inducing soundtrack. I’m sure there is also no doubt that anyone seeing this movie is desperate to get their hands on a long-board asap. Mitty’s continued contact with an EHarmony employee grounds the movie back to his goal of romance and adds a much needed consistency to the film.
Comedic attempts in the first half of the film get lost amongst the scenery and feel futile. Although comedy is Stiller’s forte most efforts here feel cringe-worthy and out of place amongst this particular backdrop. The mixture of content here doesn’t add up to the pure scale of the job at hand, one of which could have been awe-inducing on an almost Life Of Pi scale.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty ticks all the boxes for a sweet-natured family film and is spectacular on many levels, also boasting one of Stiller’s most honest performances to date but at times isn’t consistent in it’s ideas, often cheapening it to a big budget car advert.
And no, Adam Scott, I’m never going to be able to forgive you for that beard.