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On Saturday The Secret Life of Walter Mitty screened as the centerpiece film at the New York Film Festival, and kicked off buzz that the film likely hopes to sustain all the way through to its Christmas release date-- and, almost more importantly, the Academy Awards. Word about Walter Mitty's actual awards chances has been mixed, but the film's rapturous reception from the festival's moviegoers suggest it could be a major holiday hit-- and this brand new trailer, which premiered at Yahoo! sure makes it look that way.
Our friend David Ehrlich at Film.com described Walter Mitty as "a Garden State for middle-aged men," but looking at this trailer that doesn't even seem like a bad thing. Ben Stiller, who directs and stars, plays a milquetoast staff member at the soon-to-shutter Life magazine, and the mystery of a missing photo somehow spurs a globetrotting journey to help out an adventurous photographer played by Sean Penn. The fact that Penn's character's name is Sean O'Connell, just like our own Sean O'Connell, is hilarious and will allow us to taunt our own Sean for months on end, so thanks for that, Ben Stiller.
Last year 20th Century Fox brought the visually dazzling Life of Pi to the New York Film Festival and went on to turn it into an awards-friendly box office success. Can Walter Mitty do the same? The critics don't seem to be on board the same way they were for Pi, but since I haven't managed to catch the film yet, I'm going to keep my optimism in place until proven otherwise. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty opens December 25.