16 October 2013 7:34 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Ben Stiller confuses reality with fantasy as much as his protagonist in this cool, airless take on James Thurber's short story

Ben Stiller's new film, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which he both directed and stars in, is handsome to look at, sometimes funny, and just a little weird. The funny bits all come early, courtesy of James Thurber's original short story, whose comic conceit still chugs along as reliably as a Mini Coupe after all these years. Thurber takes only two-and-a-half pages for Mitty to imagine himself out-flying a storm, performing life-saving surgery, and bombing German ammunition dumps, all the while making it only as far as his local supermarket to buy puppy biscuits — an image of a dreamer softly defeated. The story has always represented something of a false Grail for Hollywood, where they love the sound of all that dreaming, but are less »

- Tom Shone

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