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‘Mitty’ is quiet, sweet and ever-so-slight

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James Thurber’s whimsical short story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” was about a bored, unassuming married man who escapes his humdrum life through wildly adventurous fantasies in which he becomes a war hero, a test pilot and the like. He avoids the boredom of errands and life’s routine that way.

In Ben Stiller’s new film based on that 1939 story, the daydreaming Mitty becomes a shy 40something who isn’t so much avoiding reality as using fantasy as an excuse for not seizing the day, for not asking out the woman (Kristen Wiig) at the office, for never traveling and experiencing the world. He’s not so much avoiding his dull reality as failing to, as the Latins said, “carpe diem.”

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