The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty

I’ve been waiting to see this movie ever since I saw the trailer many months back. The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty is a 2013 American adventure comedy directed by Ben Stiller who also co-produced the movie he stars in as the title character. Gore Verbinski executive produced the film which also c0-stars Kristen Wiig, Sean Penn, Adam Scott, Shirley MacLaine, Adrian Martinez & Patton Oswalt. This is the second film adaptation of James Thurber’s 1939 short story of the same name. The 1947 version was produced by Samuel Goldwyn and directed by Norman Z. McLeod, with Danny Kaye playing the role of Walter Mitty.

Walter Mitty is a negative assets manager at Life magazine, where he has worked for 16 years. He frequently zones out as he day dreams a lot about fantastic adventures but lives a very safe & predictable life, where is even hesitant to give a ‘wink’ on Cheryl’s, his coworker on whom he has a crush,  eHarmony page. On one morning the magazine announces that it’s going completely online and hence downsizing is in order. Photojournalist Sean O’Connell, who works closely with Walter but has never met him, sends him a role of negatives of his latest work and a wallet as a gift for his excellent work. The new transition manager, the obnoxious Ted Hendricks, is also sent a message by O’Connell,  that the 25th photo is the perfect one for the final magazine cover as it captures the “quintessence” of Life and will be perfect before the change to online status. However Walter cannot find negative 25 and stalls for time as he heads to Greenland to track down Sean, aided by clues in his other photos which Cheryl helps him out with as the two finally talk.

In Greenland he finds out from a bartender that Sean has already left on a boat and hence Walter must hitch a ride on a helicopter piloted by a drunk man who loves karoke. He is inspired by a vision he has of Cheryl singing an acoustic version of David Bowie’s Space Oddity and he jumps into the helicopter as it takes off. Walter has to jump into shark infested waters to get to the boat but finds out that Sean is no longer aboard it. From a cake, a favourite recipe of Walter’s mother, that Sean has offered to the ship’s crew, he finds more clues on the wrapping paper that leads him to Iceland, where Sean has gone to photograph the volcano Eyjafjallajökull. Walter has more adventures trading a skateboard from some kids and skating through the roads and escapes the exploding volcano’s smokes with help from a man he meets and who drives him to a pizza place. Walter is forced to break off the search after receiving a text message calling him back to New York immediately. Having failed to get the photo for the cover in time, Walter is fired and is also dismayed to find out that Cheryl was also let go a few days earlier. He goes to her house to see her but on seeing her ex-husband there, he leaves the skateboard as a present to her son Rich and leaves without speaking to her.

Walter goes home dejected and throws the wallet into the bin but is surprised to find that Sean had visited his mother earlier. Apparently his mom had told him about it while there were in a supermarket but he had zoned out at the time. Walter decide to go find Sean and treks to the Himalayas where Sean is photographing snow leopards.  To Walter’s astonishment, Sean had tucked negative 25 into the wallet, leaving a clue for him in a message he left along with the package. The two of them play football with the natives before Walter leaves back for home. He is arrested at LAX by security and has to call  the only person he knows in the city to vouch for him : Todd who was the eHarmony rep who talked to Walter when he was having issues setting up his profile and who kept calling him for updates to add to the page. Dismayed that he had dumped the wallet, he helps his mother sell her piano but is pleasantly surprised when she gives him the wallet she found in the bin. Without looking at the picture, an emboldened Mitty delivers it to Life magazine, tells management that it was the photograph Sean O’Connell wanted for the final issue, and berates Hendricks for disrespecting the staff that made the magazine so honored.

As the movie winds down, Walter applies for new jobs and watches a video that Cheryl & Rich had sent him. He meets her when they are both at the office to collect their severance packages and and learns that Cheryl’s ex-husband was only at her house in order to repair the refrigerator. As they walk in the streets they find the cover of the last magazine in a nearby stand – the final cover photograph shows Walter sitting outside the Life building, holding a sheet of negatives up to the light and examining them with an eyepiece. Walter holds Cheryl’s hand and they both walk along the street.

Sweet and funny at times but the movie also loses my interest in a few places.Overall I think I liked it quite a bit and will give the film a 7.5 outta 10! It’s just missing some really good scenes which could have made the movie a classic.

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