The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
is a movie for anyone prone to existential crises during soft-drink commercials. Based on James Thurber’s 1939 short story about a teenage punk rocker-turned-graying office drone with severe delusional psychosis (because one can only assume director-star Ben Stiller remained totally faithful to the source material), the film adopts a long-winded motto from Life
magazine as its motivational tagline-cum-greeting card message that can be easily distilled down to “Do the Dew, brah!” Spurred by a shitty new boss (Adam Scott with General Zod facial hair), love interest (Kristen Wiig, less phoning in her performance than texting it while in line at the post office) and spirit animal (Sean Penn), Stiller’s Mitty sets off to make his vivid daydreams into reality. Soon he’s bounding through airports to the tune of Arcade Fire, leaping out of helicopters, fighting sharks and skateboarding toward erupting volcanoes. The thing quickly blows up into an extended Super Bowl ad break—complete with promotions for eHarmony, Papa John’s, Cinnabon and whatever cellphone carrier has coverage in the Himalayas—with all the heart and genuine emotion that suggests.