Ben Stiller, is like the quiet, unassuming man’s Mel Gibson. He goes on movie making sprees and produces some decent and some wholly forgettable works. While generally a likable fellow all of the characters portrayed by Stiller seem to be hankering for pity, whether it be in Meet the Parents, Night at the Museum or even in Zoolander. So I approached this acted in, directed by the son of Frank Costanza with apprehension.
The reviews of course have been raving with audiences having nothing to say but good things about this movie. The problem thus is that if you don’t watch such a film soon enough you find it falling short of your expectations. This problem is by no means local to the world of cinema watching, it is relevant in context where the consumption of content is involved. The film is based on the life of an employee of ‘Life” Magazine. Stiller a veteran negative asset manager ( someone who manages photograph negatives) has a mundane life. A life to which most of the audience shall relate to for there are horrible bosses, overbearing mums, needy sisters and of course mega problems on the romantic front. The character has the propensity to day dream and his ‘visions’ as such are showcased wonderfully. He embarks on a journey to find a missing photo negative which was sent (or not) by Sean Penn who plays a leading photojournalist whose machoness and awesomeness can’t be overstated. Prompted by ethereal images and improbable situations our meek friend embarks on a journey of a lifetime to track his adventurer friend. Iceland, volcanoes, swimming with sharks form some of the scenes but all of them breathtaking. This is a movie where the photography is more of a hero than any actor or the plot.
The story is pleasant and yet not very pleasing. While the spontaneous journey of a man of whom you believe it to be totally uncharacteristic, gives you a rush its implausibility stares you in the face. Kristen Wilg as the love interest shows a new charisma which remained hidden in SNL and The Bridesmaids. Shirley MacLaine makes for a good, loving mother. I think you’d best enjoy this movie if you don’t read too much about it, watch it in HD on a large screen. Having a clementine cake handy should greatly enhance the experience. Here is a recipe very much in context.