Tonight I screened The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, starring Ben Stiller and Kristen Wiig.
As a child, I read the James Thurber short story of the same name and remember being captivated by its ability to transport me to wherever Walter's brain was going. In this film adaptation? Not so much.
Stiller plays Mitty in an almost stoic way, making him into a character who is not only sad, but perhaps mentally ill. He's bullied by colleagues, financially responsible for his mother and sister, and hopelessly trying to navigate eHarmony.com, which along with Papa John's and Cinnabon, enjoys some fantastic product placement here.
This version of Mitty is a negative assets specialist for the soon-to-fold Life magazine. He is responsible for the final issue's cover image, which he has misplaced. Sheryl (Wiig) works in a related department, but is new to the magazine. Walter has a crush on her. Soon he's off to Greenland to track down Sean (Sean Penn), the photographer of the final image.
It goes from being sort of sad to wild-and-crazy fantasy-like to a soul-searching mission with a love story sprinkled in for good measure. There's some comedy too.
But mostly it's a Forrest Gump-ish jumble of unbelievable events (without the endearing nature of a character like Gump) peppered with fantastic cameos from stars like Shirley MacLaine and Patton Oswalt.
I wish I could have enjoyed it more. All of these actors are likeable.