Ben Stiller is unquestionably capable of making great art. From films like The Royal Tennenbaums to the more recent Greenberg, he’s willing to try different things, be unlikeable, and work with great material. Unfortunately that doesn’t always pay the bills so he’s also the captain of the Meet the Fockers/Night of the Museum franchises. It was hard to know which Stiller would show up for the remake of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty he directed and stars in. It looks like it’s the good one.
Co-starring Kristen Wiig and Adam Scott, the trailer is scored to melancholy indie rock and shows a loser who dreams of doing great things. Though it may not be apparent from the trailer, it does follow the blueprint of the 1947 Danny Kaye film, which finds Walter Mitty actually going on a real adventure. The James Thurber short story kept Mitty just a dreamer. Here’s that trailer:
This looks more like Life of Pi than Zoolander or Tropic Thunder, that’s for sure. But it also looks bold and interesting and deeper than most 20th Century Fox comedies for the last decade. Perhaps this is misleading, and there’s way more fart jokes in the finished film. But to be fair, that’s not how marketing usually works, generally you sell the lowbrow first to get people interested in something highbrow. The biggest danger here seems to be that it could fall into an anti-narcissism trap and Stiller the director beats up Stiller the actor too much. We’ll see when the film hits theaters December 25.
Are you still a Ben Stiller fan?