'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty' - what's the verdict?
Ben Stiller's movieThe Secret Life of Walter Mitty - based on James Thurber's classic story - has severely divided critics ahead of its release on Christmas Day. Back in October, we speculated on the possibility it being too avant-garde for Hollywood based on the strength of the trailer and with a 37% score on Rotten Tomatoes, it seems Stiller's project hasn't quite worked out (at least most people don't think so).
Ben Stiller in 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty'
"It's too airless, too perfect, a dream of connection with humanity that flees contact with actual people," said Tom Shone of The Guardian.
"Ben Stiller's aesthetics blend overly manicured imagery with soaring rock songs that underline every emotion, lest the film's corporate logo-driven message-making didn't get the point across clearly enough," wrote Nick Schager of Slant magazine.
"Kind of like if Akira Kurosawa's Ikiru were remade as an 114-minute Super Bowl commercial," wrote Nick Ehrlich of Film.com.
Sounds like a complete wash-out right? Well, hold your horses because there's actually some positive reviews too.
"...what lifts this studio comedy, Stiller's fifth feature as director, is its sincere ambivalence about fulfillment in the age of iPhones and image saturation," said Film Comment magazine.
"Audiences willing to tune in to its blend of surreal fantasy, droll comedy and poignancy will be rewarded," said David Rooney of the Hollywood Reporter.
"Though Stiller has proven he can be much funnier ... the emotional dimension ultimately makes the film feel more substantial," said Peter Debruge of Variety.
Ben Stiller and his crew shooting scenes for 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty'
The movie stars Stiller as Walter Mitty, a Life magazine worker who lives inside fantasy worlds. He sets off on a journey to find a missing picture, which is required for the final issue of Life.
The movie boasts a strong cast including Adam Scott, as Mitty's boss, Kristen Wiig, as his love interest, Sean Penn as an Arctic explorer, Patton Oswalt as an eHarmony customer services representative (yep, really) and Shirley MacLaine as Mitty's mother.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is due for release on December 25, 2013.