The Secret Life of Walter Mitty opened in theaters last week on Christmas and is sure to be a hit with some … especially Ben Stiller fans.

This film is not only directed by Ben Stiller, but he also plays in the starring role as Walter Mitty. The supporting cast includes: Kathryn Hahn, Shirley MacLaine, Patton Oswalt, Sean Penn, Adam Scott and Kristen Wiig.

Originally, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was a short story written by James Thurber in 1939. It was first made into a movie back in 1947 and starred Danny Kane. In the 1960s, the storyline was adapted to the Broadway stage. The new release is written by Steven Conrad and provides an updated narrative of the character and his quest to be a hero. It shares the same title as the original work, but includes many different twists and turns during its two hour running time.

As the film opens, we quickly learn that Walter Mitty is an employee of Life Magazine, and his job is to proof negatives taken by the photographers, and ensure that the images move properly to print.

Mitty’s character is somewhat mousy in nature. He’s quiet and shy and keeps pretty much to himself. Mitty finds his mind wandering to a fantasy world. It is in this realm that he is transformed into a self-confident, outgoing, super-hero who always gets the girl and a happy ending. His imagination provides him with all of the traits that he feels he is lacking in his day-to-day life.

In the office, there is one person that captures his eye and his heart. Cheryl Melhoff, played by Kristen Wiig, is one of his colleagues and she portrays a pretty girl that with a down-to-earth type of personality. Walter becomes very interested in her and dreams of dating her, but he feels that she’s out of his league. He even joins the dating service just hoping to be able to gain the attention of this beautiful lady.

As the story unfolds, we find that the magazine is moving towards an online publication, and the characters come to realize that their jobs may be terminated as a result. One of the magazine’s photographers sent Mitty some negatives of his recent photo shoot and instructs him that the image to be used for the new issue’s cover is included. When Mitty reviews the negatives he discovers that the image isn’t included and finds himself unable to reach the photographer, played by Sean Penn.

At this point the film takes off on the adventures of Walter Mitty as he goes around the world to locate the needed image for the last printed publication of the magazine. His tale includes skateboarding from a volcano, a not-so-relaxing swim with a shark, and many other dangerous feats that the real Walter Mitty would have never thought he had the courage to pursue. 

Let this be a reminder that we can actually become our own worst enemy. Because of this, we can set ourselves up for failure without ever even trying. Instead, we must follow our dreams and remain strong during the challenges that present themselves along the way.

Be strong and of good courage, don’t be afraid, nor be scared of them: for Yahweh your God, he it is who does go with you; he will not fail you, nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

In addition to the entertainment factor, the cinematography in this film is amazing. The scenery is beautiful, and it is brilliantly captured throughout the movie. And, the characters that Mitty meets during his adventures are sure to make you smile.

So, what does Ben think about his most recent project? When asked about the film, Stiller, 48, replied, “This movie relates to me personally. It’s where I am in my life right now. When you’re in the world of creating things, you’re constantly trying to get somewhere where you haven’t been. And that’s the dilemma Walter faces.”

This film is rated PG for its inclusion of some strong language, crude comments, and action violence. Overall, the romance is done in an innocent fashion and the movie isn’t overrun with bad language or influences. You can feel comfortable taking a teenager to The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and sharing in the laughter that Stiller brings to the big screen.

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