By: John ’Doc’ Strange

Directed by: Ben Stiller

Starring: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Shirley MacLaine, Adam Scott, Kathryn Hahn, and Sean Penn

Screen Story and Screenplay by: Steve Conrad; based upon the short story by James Thurber

MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for some crude comments, language and action violence)

Selig Rating: FULL PRICE

Runtime: 114 Min.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is the remake of the 1947 movie which starred Danny Kaye.  Danny Kaye was perfect choice for the role in the 1947 version.  The new screenplay by Steve Conrad updates the story, changing Mitty’s profession from over-protected pulp-fiction proofreader to a shy negatives-assets manager for Life magazine.

The differences in the new screenplay by Steve Conrad play much better to modern movie audiences than the 1947 version.  Danny Kaye was a comedic genius and the original screenplay was grandly fitted to his style.  Ben Stiller, too, is a comedic genius (and the offspring of comedy legends Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara).  The new film is a showcase for his abilities.

The modern story revolves around Life Magazine photographer Sean O'Connell’s (Sean Penn) photo which everyone wants for the cover of the final issue before the magazine transitions to a strictly online entity.  The photo has been sent in as a photo negative, part of a roll of 35mm film.  The photographer is a throw-back to the old days and still shoots on film instead of digital media.

When the roll is processed for use by the magazine they discover that the all important negative #25 is missing.  The transition manager, Ted Hendricks (Adam Scott), fires Walter when he can’t produce the negative.

Walter spurred on by the woman he is secretly in love with, Cheryl Melhoff (Kristen Wiig), and his 16-year friendship with Sean, decides to go on a quest to find the gallivanting photographer and bring back the missing negative.  Traveling to exotic locales while braving volcanoes and shark infested waters, Walter pursues Sean half way around the world.

This is a wonderful film full of hope and wonder.  Its slow start is a necessary evil as the director (Ben Stiller) sets the stage for all that is to follow.  In a wonderful small but important role, Patton Oswalt, brings a depth to the film that will have you smiling at times and laughing out loud at others.  Rounding out a cast of amazing characters is Shirley MacLaine as Walter’s mother.  This is an amazing FULL PRICE film and a wonderful additional to our holiday film options!

Movie Site:

The Selig Rating Scale:

FULL PRICE – Excellent movie, well worth the price
MATINEE – Good movie
DOLLAR – OK movie
CABLE – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
FREEBIE – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.
COMMERCIAL TV – Commercials and cutting to the allotted time will not hurt this one.
FORGET IT! – Bad. If you see this one, do yourself a favor and keep it to yourself.
GET YOUR TORCHES – BAD! – Burn the script, the writer, the director and maybe even the actors!

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