Film Review – A Walk in the Woods (2015)

A Walk in the Woods

Title – A Walk in the Woods (2015)

Director – Ken Kwapis (Big Miracle)

Cast – Robert Redford, Nick Nolte, Emma Thompson, Nick Offerman, Kristen Schaal

Plot – Author Bill Bryson (Redford) and long forgotten friend Stephen Katz (Nolte) set off on the arduous journey along the Appalachian Trail, a journey that will test their will, friendship and mental state as well as offer up many a life affirming revelation.

“Writers don’t retire. We either drink ourselves to death or blow our brains out”

Review by Eddie on 30/05/2016

Hugely disappointing, an easy and apt way to sum up this long gestating Robert Redford passion project that was originally meant to be a vehicle for him and Paul Newman to relive their glory days, Butch and Sundance go for a walk through the woods and through meditations on life if you will. What we get with A Walk in the Woods however is a meandering big screen treatment of writer Bill Bryson’s true life tale that never seems to gel as it should.

Neither funny enough, emotional enough or even really engaging enough to succeed at its goals, Woods as directed by Big Miracle and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants helmer Ken Kwapis not only wastes the potential of its narrative that could be a modern day Grumpy Old Men in the wild but also the potential of its two main stars in the form of Redford and the increasingly zombie like Nick Nolte and the two not only share an uneasy chemistry but share in the fact that neither seasoned performer can bring much to their respective roles.

Redford as author Bill Bryson fails to make an impression while Nolte as the life wasting Stephen Katz either mumbles his lines or gets caught with some downright daft lines of dialogue that were written by screenwriters Michael Arndt and Bill Holderman and while the film is sporadically amusing in parts, large portions of possibly hilarious situations (bear attacks, annoying hikers) are conducted and delivered in a way that feels clunky and underutilised. In general the film feels like a straight up TV movie of the week and even the nice visuals of the Appalachian Trail fail to make this low end production feel like much of an event, especially when it all culminates in some highly unsatisfactory later stages.

Just below the surface of this well-meaning and occasionally engaging dramedy is a film that could’ve likely been a new aged classic but thanks to wasted ideas, wasted talent and an overall sense mediocrity, A Walk in the Woods is merely a barely tolerable stroll through the predictable to a destination that is worth neither the time spent or effort exhorted to get there. Butch and Sundance would not be impressed.

2 poop shovels out of 5

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