For Hicksflicks.com, April 11, 2014

My only real complaint about Ben Stiller's "reboot" of "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" (PG) is that it uses that title, since the story is so far removed from James Thurber's three-page short story it seems ludicrous to even bring Thurber into it.

Is every movie about daydreaming now going to feel it should evoke Mitty's name in the title?

That said, this "Mitty" does seem to capture Thurber's spirit and intent in a surprisingly warm, sweet and whimsically funny movie of the kind we really don't expect to see these days, and which is quite different from anything Stiller has previously directed.

This is his fifth directing effort, after "Reality Bites" (1994, PG-13), "The Cable Guy" (1996, PG-13), "Zoolander" (2001, PG-13) and "Tropic Thunder" (2008, R). Each is quite varied in its theme and approach, but if they have something in common it's a penchant for vulgarity that, for the first three, really pushes the PG-13 rating.

 "Mitty" is unexpectedly much gentler; not at all coarse. And it's rated PG! When did you last see a PG rating on a live-action movie?

The story is built around the shuttering of Life Magazine after its final issue, which requires a picture that meek, daydreaming photo editor Mitty (Stiller) fears he has lost. He's more comfortable sitting in his office or at home and imagining great adventures, but the need for this photo sends him out on an unlikely adventure, and it is chronicled in a delightful way.

For me, this was the biggest surprise of 2013, and I'm looking forward to watching it again.

"The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" arrives on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday, April 15, and deserves as wide an audience as it can attract. Hope you'll be a part of it.