The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: New York Film Festival 2013

After years of Hollywood development and multiple A-list stars come and gone, James Thurber’s classic short story gets an overly cutesy...

New York Film Festival 2013: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

After years of Hollywood development and multiple A-list stars come and gone, James Thurber’s classic short story gets an overly cutesy treatment by director-actor Ben Stiller. There’s little soulfulness to his central dreamer, a New York City photo archivist about to be downsized by Life magazine (here improbably revived from its actual 2000 demise). In this incarnation, Mitty’s timidity is barely explained; he has difficulty clicking on eHarmony or reaching out to love interest Kristen Wiig—until, of course, he doesn’t, and these problems waft away with little personal reckoning. Cue Wes Anderson–like sequences of skateboarding down a volcano’s slope and jetting off to Afghanistan. You’re going to find it all either enormously empowering or deeply calculated: It’s an Arcade Fire–scored TV commercial for instant spirituality. Click for showtimes.—Joshua Rothkopf

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