James Thurber’s most fondly remembered story is probably “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” which invites us into the daydreams of a mild-mannered and slightly henpecked husband. While he tries to remember what it was his wife wanted him to pick up at the store (puppy biscuit), he imagines himself as a surgeon, a marksman, a Naval officer, and the devil-may-care target of a firing squad. After all, who among us has not sat at our desks and imagined ourselves taking a fifth curtain call, inventing the iPhone, accepting a Tony, an Oscar, a Nobel?
The story was made into a musical comedy starring Danny Kaye in 1947.
And now Ben Stiller has directed and stars in an updated version that looks wistful, even melancholy, but very touching, the kind of movie a guy might daydream about from the set of a dopey film like “The Watch.”