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More like 'The Secret Life of Walter Shitty'

'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty' holds you in contempt, so why not make a lame joke at its expense?

December 26, 2013, 12:00 am
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is terrible. Just terrible. It’s wrongheaded, silly, and worse, confused. The story—about Walter (Ben Stiller), who works as a negative asset manager at LIFE magazine—is pretty straightforward. Walter doesn’t have much of a life, so he fantasizes. But then something happens to a 35mm film negative that’s going to grace the magazine cover and he has to spring into action to find it, letting Walter become the adventurer he’s always dreamed of being.

Sounds harmless, but this is where the wrongheadedness works in. First, forget what you know about LIFE’s real history. Here it’s been acquired by a heartless corporation that wants to make it digital-only. But there’s so much product placement in the movie (by giant, presumably heartless corporations) that it becomes distracting. Watch Walter talk about how Papa John’s killed his dreams (which is some serious irony considering how much Papa John’s flashes its corporate logo)! Watch Walter and some guy (Patton Oswalt) who works at eHarmony (which is great with customer service!) eat at a Cinnabon and talk about how great it is!

But…the giant corporation is getting ready to kill LIFE. So, Mr. Stiller, do we love the corporations, or are they killing us? Or does it not matter when you have a movie to make? If the story were captivating enough, I wouldn’t have to ask.

Directed by Ben Stiller
With Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig and Sean Penn
Regal Santa Fe Stadium 14
114 min.


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