Product Placement Nonsense – “THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY” (2013) by Ben Stiller – film review


With an estimated budget of $ 90 million (and already on a $ 188 million worldwide lifetime gross today), I thought this movie maybe might be something different with Ben Stiller. In the end, it is all the same boring not-funny stuff he always does. The story looks like a big advertisement for the magazine “Life”. The screenplay written by Steve Conrad (based on the short story of 1939 by James Thurber) is not boring in dialogues, but in the content of the plot and the actions themselves, for everything happening is just not interesting at all. Ben Stiller directs himself in the same character as known from him in most if not all other movies and tries to put deep feeling in his square figure, even in the end, when a lot of people just want to see the end credits to finally leave the theater. Actors Jim Carrey, Owen Wilson, Mike Myers and Sascha Baron Cohen were all considered for the role of Mitty during the development of this film. It would not have helped the movie either; for a serious narrow-minded guy finding his inner courage and self-esteem, which is not funny or comedic at all (in comparison to the first comedy “The life of Walter Mitty” from 1947 directed by Norman Z. McLeod with Danny Kaye and also produced by Samuel Goldwyn Films respectively Company).

The movie seems to be a never ending ad for “Life” magazine (sub-genre of Time Life corp.). Cinnabun, Nikon, eHarmony, Microsoft, Papa John’s, McDonald’s, Career Builder, The Sesame Street and three films by the same studio (20th Century Fox) are also named and seen in these 114 minutes. “I’ll google it” “I’m lovin it” is a random product placement, too, in this tried feel good movie for mass consumption about a hopeless schmuck who has the imagination of a 7 year old, who constantly is trying to escape his fears by zoning out, only to one day find the meaning of life. How original, boring, and predictable. The plot is very thin, and the film felt much longer than it really was. It’s basically style over substance. I was not moved nor engaged at all because everything felt artificial to me. The “fantasy vs. reality” was low although Walter Mitty seemed very explicit as far as what was real and what was fantasy. That and the massive product placements seemed to indicate that maybe Stiller needed the cash to pay for an ambitious project with all the CGI, big name actors, and scenic locations. Here is a nice audience summary after discussing this commercial film:


You can find a positive summary and short review here:

and another slightly bad one:

Somebody might explain why it still is on a 7.4 on imdb?


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