Do you find enjoyment in daydreaming?  Do you live a different life in your head than is actually reality?  Does your life turn into what you dream of once you start searching for a missing photographer that has entrusted you with his last photo? Threw you off there for a minute didn’t I………..

This is premise of the film THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY.  Ben Stiller, who both directs and stars as Walter Mitty, sets out to remake the 1947 classic starring Danny Kaye – adding a few twists and turns to bring it into the 21st Century.  

Walter (Ben Stiller) has an average job, working as the lead photo developer at LIFE Magazine.  Walter has also fallen for a girl at work named Cheryl Melhoff (Kristen Wiig), and instead of just asking her out, he decides to try to get hooked up with her on a dating website.   Enter the dating site guru, Todd Maher (Patton Oswalt) who is going to help Walter enhance his page to make sure that he has more hits, which translates to more dates, etc. etc. etc.

Nothing in Walter’s life is going as planned – so Walter deals with reality like any rational person would do – just kidding – as he fades off into day dreaming about how he would prefer situations to go – not how they are really happening. 

Walter is surprised to be greeted by a new team of consultants at LIFE Magazine, who have been brought in to restructure this magazine – and at the same time –  much to his surprise, Cheryl  takes an interest in him and his work – see, he didn’t need that dating site anyway  – AWESOME!!!

When a package arrives in the developing room addressed to Walter – his life begins to take a turn, as he is given specific instructions from photographer Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn) ,to take this last reel of film, develop it and make sure that frame 25 becomes the next cover of the magazine.   Unaware of Sean’s whereabouts or what has happened to frame25 – as it is missing – Walter sets out on a journey that will not only change his life, but the life of everyone around him.

Will Walter stop daydreaming about how he wants his life to be and make it become his reality?  Will Cheryl see the REAL Walter and decide he is the perfect person for her and her son?  Will Walter finally find Sean, so that he can clear up what has happened to the missing photograph, and possibly save his job? 

I give THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY a B+ – As I have not seen the previous film from 1947, I went into this film fresh and unaware of what was going to happen.  I was surprised at not only how much I enjoyed watching Walter (Stiller) play this character and the appeal that he brought to it, but my 13 year old daughter loved it too!!!!  I am sure that most of us growing up would day dream from time to time, and we all know how much we would like to take a break from reality and maybe change a situation or two, to work in our favor – and this film allows you to feel and live just that.

You will find yourself rooting for Walter – in dealing with his mother and sister, in creating a relationship with the woman he loves, and in finding the realization that even if we don’t think our lives are important to others, in the scheme of things, each of us touches many lives in a very positive way, even if know it or not.  Stiller and Wiig are great together and Sean Penn and Patton Oswalt have the best small parts I have seen in a long time too – making the characters they play truly the turning points in this film.

THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY is totally an above average film for me, especially for a film that is about just an average guy.

Kathy Kaiser

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