Latest Entertainment News Headlines

Review: A Walk in the Woods

A Walk in the Woods
09.02.2015
5 10
This review originally ran as part of our Sundance 2015 coverage.

PLOT: Bill Bryson (Robert Redford) – an aging travel writer – decides to hike the Appalachian trail. Forced by his headstrong wife (Emma Thompson) to bring a companion, Bryson brings along his long-estranged former best friend, the slovenly Katz (Nick Nolte) and the two old guys bicker their way across the trail and try to prove to themselves that they're not too old for an adventure.

REVIEW: Considering the fact that Sundance is Robert Redford's own festival, there's something significant about the fact that he's always been reticent to have the fest feature his own work. In the opening remarks the festival programmer stated that Redford had no idea A WALK IN THE WOODS was going to make it's world premiere at the fest until after it had been programmed.

Certainly, Redford's got nothing to be ashamed of A WALK IN THE WOODS, a project he's long been keen on adapting (based on the real Bryson's memoirs). Still, it's a fairly innocuous film and in the hands of director Ken Kwapis (LICENCE TO WED & THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELLING PANTS) it's ultra conventional and closer to a movie like WILD HOGS than WILD – which coincidentally also took place on the Appalachian trail.

Given that Redford co-stars with old buddy Nick Nolte, it's easy to cut the movie a little slack, especially early on. The two have good chemistry and look like they're having a ball, even if Nolte, with his permanently pink face seems way too out of shape to ever reasonably attempt something like he does here. Still, he brings energy and vitality (and tons of four-letter-words) to the part, and him and Redford have the right kind of easygoing camaraderie, where each constantly takes the piss out of the other, to make you believe that they've been lifelong friends.

On that note, it's a shame WOODS goes for the easy laugh every chance it gets, with tons of jokes centered around Nolte being horny, Redford being annoyed, and the two being way too out-of-shape to go very far (although Redford looks remarkably fit). The jokes are easy and at a certain point this starts to feel like another GRUMPY OLD MEN or LAST VEGAS, with the clear intention here being to make a commercial film rather than the thoughtful meditation on old age and nature that one might assume this would be given the material and Redford's involvement.

Another issue is that movies like this pretty much have to be episodic, but as opposed to INTO THE WILD and WILD, the episodes aren't very interesting or affecting. They don't get much deeper than a trucker looking to beat up Nolte for seducing his wife, or Kristen Schaal as a motor-mouthed hiker who gets on the fellas' nerves.

Towards the end, the movie tries to switch gears and become a bit more thoughtful, but the climax is utterly ruined by some painfully obvious green screen work. One also questions the wisdom of Kwapis barely featuring any interesting location footage in the film itself, but then showcasing some staggering shots over the end credits – by which point it's a little too late to be impressed.

All things considered, A WALK IN THE WOODS is never an obnoxious movie, but it's a thoroughly disappointing one considering the stars. This is the kind of movie that might appeal to an older audience looking for a lighthearted look at old age, but it feels like a wasted opportunity as with better writing, and more evocative direction. Suffice to say, this is no WILD.

Source: JoBlo.com

RECOMMENDED MOVIE NEWS

MORE FUN FROM AROUND THE WEB

Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

12:40PM on 09/02/2015

Nick Nolte in the woods = HORROR MOVIE

How is this supposed to be a comedy. Nick Nolte is an untamed bear who will eat you alive if you are alone in the woods with him.
How is this supposed to be a comedy. Nick Nolte is an untamed bear who will eat you alive if you are alone in the woods with him.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
4:13AM on 01/25/2015
I read many years ago Redford was eyeing this as a on screen reunion with Paul Newman but he passed before it could become a reality. Guess it was for the better it didn't happen.
I read many years ago Redford was eyeing this as a on screen reunion with Paul Newman but he passed before it could become a reality. Guess it was for the better it didn't happen.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
8:58PM on 01/23/2015
A walk in the woods by Bill Bryson is one of my favorite books. I would sit in the break room at work and just burst out laughing. It's an hilarious account of when Bryson and his former addict friend Katz attempt the Appalachian trail. It's unfair to compare this movie to wild because bill Bryson is a funny guy and all of his books are funny accounts of his journeys. I've been waiting for thus movie since it was announced ten years ago with Redford and Paul Newman set to act. But when Newman
A walk in the woods by Bill Bryson is one of my favorite books. I would sit in the break room at work and just burst out laughing. It's an hilarious account of when Bryson and his former addict friend Katz attempt the Appalachian trail. It's unfair to compare this movie to wild because bill Bryson is a funny guy and all of his books are funny accounts of his journeys. I've been waiting for thus movie since it was announced ten years ago with Redford and Paul Newman set to act. But when Newman passed away it kind of got lost. I'm so glad to see they made it and I can't wait to watch it. Just remember the book is funny so the movie probably will be too.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
9:01PM on 01/23/2015
Also Katz (played by Nolte) was out if shape
He makes fun of it all the way through the book. How about doing some research on the book before mocking the movie
Also Katz (played by Nolte) was out if shape
He makes fun of it all the way through the book. How about doing some research on the book before mocking the movie
9:33PM on 01/23/2015
You're making me more excited to see it now, as someone who's read it probably more recent than myself you remember it better than I. I completely agree what you wrote under my post, Nolte would have killed it in his 40s! I can really picture him as Katz. I'm still worried that it's starring old men when the real guys were decades younger, but you're right, the book was funny the movie probably will be too.
You're making me more excited to see it now, as someone who's read it probably more recent than myself you remember it better than I. I completely agree what you wrote under my post, Nolte would have killed it in his 40s! I can really picture him as Katz. I'm still worried that it's starring old men when the real guys were decades younger, but you're right, the book was funny the movie probably will be too.
8:04PM on 01/23/2015

Um . . . nice research

"Wild" took place along the Pacific Crest Trail. Which is on the other side of the continent.
"Wild" took place along the Pacific Crest Trail. Which is on the other side of the continent.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+1
5:00PM on 01/23/2015

I dunno 'bout this but I guess I'm hip to it

This is my favorite Bill Bryson book and I've got a feeling the movie is not going to do it justice. For one thing Bryson and Katz were both in their mid 40s when they hiked the trail. Bill was in okay shape, but Katz was out of shape and had put on quite a few pounds since Bill had last seen him. So that part follows the book, and Katz being out of shape is part of what makes it funny at times, but the ages are way off. Bryson wasn't fully prepared either, but moreso than Katz. I'll see it
This is my favorite Bill Bryson book and I've got a feeling the movie is not going to do it justice. For one thing Bryson and Katz were both in their mid 40s when they hiked the trail. Bill was in okay shape, but Katz was out of shape and had put on quite a few pounds since Bill had last seen him. So that part follows the book, and Katz being out of shape is part of what makes it funny at times, but the ages are way off. Bryson wasn't fully prepared either, but moreso than Katz. I'll see it but I don't get this casting. Like most of Bryson's books, you're basically following him through his travels of meeting everyday people and his various amusing encounters and mild foibles. It sounds like they're trying to spice it up for a movie audience when it's pretty low key in reality.

I guess if Bryson is okay with the casting and screenplay then who am I to complain?
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
9:06PM on 01/23/2015
Agree with you. Someone that's read the book I think knolte at 40 would have been perfect for this role. Katz complained the whole time, often times taking stuff out of his backpack and throwing it to the side of the trail. I'm excited to see where they take this but I doubt it will be as good as the book.
Agree with you. Someone that's read the book I think knolte at 40 would have been perfect for this role. Katz complained the whole time, often times taking stuff out of his backpack and throwing it to the side of the trail. I'm excited to see where they take this but I doubt it will be as good as the book.
View All Comments

Latest Entertainment News Headlines


Top
Loading...

Featured Youtube Videos

Views and Counting

Movie Hottie Of The Week

More