The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

photo for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Very loose remake of James Thurber’s classic story about a day-dreamer who escapes his anonymous life by disappearing into a world of fantasies filled with heroism, romance and action. Ben Stiller directs and stars in this mixed-bag of a film that juxtaposes gorgeous cinematography with a story line and dialogue that can’t decide whether it wants to be clever and rich or mundane and flaccid, though it tends to lean to the latter. Stiller plays Mitty, a timid photo manager at LIFE just at the time the print magazine was being retired in favor of an online version; when an important negative for the very last cover goes missing, Mitty has to give up his daydreams and embark on a global mission to find the film. Stiller composes the first half of the movie in squares and rectangles, kind of a cinema version of Mondrian’s grid-based paintings — and Stiller’s images are striking and beautiful. Later, when Mitty travels to Iceland, Greenland and Afghanistan, the vistas open up and the gorgeous scenery fills the screen. Too bad the dialogue and acting aren’t as bold as the images; they’re cramped and awkward. Supporting actors Kristen Wiig, Sean Penn, Adam Scott, Patton Oswalt, Shirley MacLaine and Kathryn Hahn are totally wasted. Extras: Behind the scenes featurettes “The Look of Life,” “The Music of Walter Mitty,” “Sights and Sounds of Production: Skateboarding Through Iceland”; gallery of reference photography. Blu-ray adds deleted scenes; extended and alternate scenes; additional featurettes “The History of Walter Mitty”; “That’s A Shark,” “Icelandic Adventure,” “Nordic Casting,” “Titles of Walter Mitty,” “Sights and Sounds of Production: Ted-Walter Flight”; “Stay Alive” music video by Jose Gonzalez; theatrical trailer. Also included is a special gift with purchase redeemable until August 31, 2014: a Shutterfly 20-page 8×8 hard cover photo book valued at $29.99. Consumers will be able to redeem their photo book by entering a unique promo code at checkout on Vitals: Director: Ben Stiller. Stars: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Sean Penn, Adam Scott, Patton Oswalt, Shirley MacLaine, Kathryn Hahn. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 114 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $56.887 million, Fox. 2 stars

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