Premise: LIFE Magazine is about to publish its last print issue, and the photo they need to use for the cover is missing! Uh oh! The man whose job it is to manage photo negatives, Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller), now must go on a quest to find the photo by tracking the elusive photographer who sent it to him (played by Sean Penn). The problem is, Walter constantly goes into deep fantasy day dreams to escape his normal mundane life, and now he must actually experience that fantasy for real. Whoa, I just realized that this is basically like a live action feature film episode of the show Doug.
-It has some great cinematography, which is undoubtedly assisted by the fact that much of the movie takes place in some beautiful environments.
-There are a handful of great music choices, most of which are incorporated into the visual action, and not just subtle background noise. In other words, when the movie wants you to hear an Arcade Fire song, it MAKES you listen to an Arcade Fire song. Decent soundtrack overall.
-I love him as a nice-guy nerd on Parks & Rec, but let’s face facts here, folks… Adam Scott is the perfect sarcastic jerk with a punchable smile. He just has that shit down to a science.
-Sean Penn’s mysterious photographer character really drives the film home for me, and when we finally get to meet him, it didn’t disappoint. I at least thought his twist/joke was pretty good and fitting as an ironic twist to the extravagant journey it took to get there.
-At its most bare-boned, it’s a story about a guy trying to track down a lost photograph. At its most introspective, it’s about a guy learning to seize every moment of his mundane life. At its most realistic, it’s a really simple plot that gets escalated through often inconsequential fantasy sequences.
-It really picks up a nice flow in the second and third act, but I was legitimately bored in the first act. I didn’t really get truly interested until he got on the boat in the ocean.
-I hope Adam Scott didn’t actually grow that terrible beard.
-Ben Stiller’s best directorial effort has been, and forever will be The Cable Guy.
Final Thoughts: I saw this movie about a week ago, and when I tried to think about the entire film, I was only able to remember each scene as its own little moment. Because that’s what this movie felt like to me; just a series of unconnected moments. Almost like short films within a film. Granted, some moments are legitimately entertaining, while others aren’t so much. I kind of hate the use of dream sequences as a narrative device, because it always feels cheap and unneccessary. And when the whole movie like this is made up of them, I start to really think about what this movie would have been without those sequences, and it really boils down to a kind of unspectacular set of events. Don’t get me wrong, I got enjoyment out of Walter Mitty, but I don’t think I’d ever pay to watch it again. The fantasy sequences are almost representative of the film as a whole, as they make the final product seem more interesting than it actually is.
6.5 out of 10