By Colin Covert
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
It’s shaping up as a big movie Christmas for Kristen Wiig. She’s blitzing theaters with funny, diverse roles in three major films. In two, she’s actually visible.
Wiig plays her most romantic role to date in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” Ben Stiller’s adaptation of the classic comic short story by James Thurber. Stiller plays a meek Life magazine photo librarian whose imagination kicks into overdrive when he falls in love with co-worker Wiig.
In “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,” Wiig unfurls her trademark tics and gooney-bird line readings as Chani, the station’s off-kilter receptionist. Her amorous scenes with Steve Carell’s weatherman Brick Tamland, the world champion of movie imbeciles, inspire equal amounts of “awwww” and “ick.”
And in Spike Jonze’s futuristic boy-meets-computer fantasy “Her,” Wiig has a standout sequence without even being seen. Before lonely Joaquin Phoenix falls for the warm, friendly voice of his new operating system (Scarlett Johansson), he logs into a phone chat room and has an intimate conversation with a woman who seems to be a kindred spirit. The conversation heats up, and the unseen woman makes a bizarre, hilarious demand involving the tail of a dead cat. The tele-hookup? Listen closely and you’ll recognize Wiig.
Whether she’s the star, as in her blockbuster “Bridesmaids,” or a supporting player, Wiig hits every role with a full-body tackle. In “Anchorman,” her character has a sublimely awkward moment when her bottom, in full-cut granny panties, is mashed flat against a glass office wall. She did the shot without the aid of a body double or a prosthetic posterior.
“That’s me,” she said cheerfully by phone. “I thought, if I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna do it.”
“Mitty,” with Ben Stiller taking the title role as well as directing, treated Wiig with more decorum.