The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty

A ropey update of the 1947 Danny Kaye vehicle made by and starring Ben Stiller in the titular role, which arrives replete with all the ugly, attention-seeking, 21st Century money-spunking we’ve come to expect from Hollywood remakes: there’s a wacky, ultrafast chase set piece through busy Manhattan streets and avenues, completely unnecessary and unconvincing CGI and even an expensive cameo (a none-more-earnest Sean Penn playing a none-more-earnest photojournalist). Two strands are developed – daydreamer Mitty’s job at LIFE magazine is under threat because lazily-written asshole corporate bean counters are bad mmmkay, and a romance with Kristen Wiig’s co-worker beckons – but bizarrely the story jettisons these for a long flight of fancy that is little more than a dull travelogue with no real rhyme or reason to it. The unintentional takeaway message is: get out of that dusty, dingy corporate office basement and see the world – even though it’s just full of aggressive and tawdry product placement, anyway. Wiig is given a thankless role and her talents are utterly wasted. Stiller is disappointingly bland, and you’ll get more laughs staring at lampshade for 90 minutes. Nothing else here is worthy of comment. (**)