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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty 

Great, despite Penn.

click to enlarge Now I want to go backpacking.
  • Now I want to go backpacking.

Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) is a quiet, careful man who works in the negative assets department of Life magazine, down in the basement. He supports his mother (Shirley MacLaine), picks up the slack from his free-spirit sister (Kathryn Hahn) and balances his chequebook by hand. He’s in love with a girl at work (Kristen Wiig). It’s a very ordinary, stable life, but Walter’s got a rich inner monologue running—in his head he’s sharp and strong and adventurous. When Life goes digital and Walter loses the final issue’s cover shot, he decides to hop a plane to Greenland to find it. He jumps from a helicopter into the ocean, skateboards between towns in Iceland, runs from a volcanic eruption. He begins living. Stiller, who also directed, goes for a Serious Jim Carrey approach to Walter, which works well—there’s none of the simmering rage that normally underscores his performances, while Wiig continues to settle nicely into her new role as movie star. Even with Sean Penn involved, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a good-hearted delight.

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