A Walk in the Woods

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The title A Walk in the Woods sounds like it’ll be another horror movie. Instead, it’s Wild Hogs, if the old dudes had gotten off the bikes and decided to walk the Appalachian trail. Yes, this is the weekend for old fogies in films. You’ll get Grandma, Learning to Drive, and Transporter Refueled (I didn’t see that last one, but upon further review, maybe that is for the teenagers).

There are so many things wrong with this movie. We’ll start with the comment my guest said. He leaned in and asked, “Can I go talk to management?”

I looked over at him, wondering what his complaint could possibly be, as he continued, “I want them to put the closed-captions up there so we can understand what Nick Nolte is saying.”

Aside from his warbled and annoying voice, it wasn’t 1/10 as funny as when Nolte kept getting upset with Eddie Murphy in 48 Hours. In fact, these two had very little chemistry, which is a shame, because Robert Redford had a fun demeanor. He was an old guy that was tired of everyone and their dumb questions, and he just wanted to walk. Of course, the screenwriters (Rick Kerb, Bill Holderman) idea of humor was to have an angry husband chase them out of a hotel…or have them fall into water…or have a bunk-bed collapse. That’s always good for a chuckle.

My favorite comedy duo from films was Walter Mathau and Jack Lemmon, and even I disliked the Grumpy Old Men films. Yet those had a lot more entertainment than this boring, feel-good story that should’ve been on Lifetime.

It’s based on the book travel writer Bill Bryson did when he was in his 40’s. Redford is almost twice his age, and Nolte…not sure of his age, but he looked 107. Perhaps their age is why a reporter on TV, interviewing Redford, seemed impressed that “You guys did most of your own stunts!”

Well, they were walking through the woods. This isn’t Tom Cruise dangling from an airplane, so let’s not praise the “stunts” too much.

Director Ken Kwapis gave us License to Wed, Dunston Checks in, and He’s Just Not That Into You, so…the humor is on par with those.

We’ve gotten a lot of hiking movies lately (The Way, Into the Wild, Wild, Tracks), and this premise is a tad different. It’s more about old friendships than hiking to find yourself.

I was one of the few critics that gave a bad review to Robert Redford’s shipwreck film All is Lost. Perhaps this movie would’ve worked better had we not seen him struggling with natures elements just a few years ago. And with so much of this dialogue being atrocious (“Want to help me with my panties?”)…I started to miss the lack of dialogue in All is Lost.

Redford produced this film, and he’s been working on this bestseller for almost 10 years.

My friend also leaned in, when we see Emma Thompson as the wife, and whispered, “Is Redford her father, or husband?”

I don’t mind the fact that he looked so much older, I just wish Redford would stop dying his hair. That makes him look weird. It’s the same with Paul McCartney and his jet black hair, but I digress.

In regards to the casting, they used great comedic actors, in just a few scenes. Nick Offerman does his usual shtick as the know-it-all sporting goods salesman.

Kristen Schaal plays that know-it-all hiker, and she’s a lot of fun in her few scenes.

The gorgeous Mary Steenburgen shows up as a hotel owner that appears interested in Bryson. Uh…wasn’t she just in Last Vegas, getting those old dudes all riled up? Listen Hollywood, Steenburgen is gorgeous, and even 20-year-olds would drool over her. That’s why it was so funny that John C. Reilly talks about how hot his step-mom is in Step Brothers.

Much of the music in this is by Lord Huron, which is a nice touch, although the way these old codgers act, I picture them as the types that would rather lie in a cot listening to Nat King Cole.

With each step on the trail they take, Nolte complains, Redford rolls his eyes, and I felt like taking a really long walk…to go to the snack bar and buy some popcorn, and perhaps slip into another movie.

This gets 1 star out of 5.

2 comments

  • bob pearl

    It’s time like this that I am so glad I am not a critic as I would hate to have to only criticize a movie and not be able to just sit back and enjoy it on an individual basis. I know its impressive to quote all the good or bad movies each star has been in or that a director has done etc. So from just a simple lover of films without all the borders, I loved this movie.
    The place was packed due to some meet up group for cheap movies which I guess is just a cover for people who can’t get a date but thats ok.
    Anyway because it was at the AMC La Jolla where the chairs let you lean back and the feet up, sitting in the front row I thought was the best place. The scenery was awesome as it was the Appalachian Trail which I have heard good things about so that caught my interest and then to have two oldies like Robert Redford who had the perfect wife of Emma Thompson was great casting. Bringing in Nick Nolte who was a lot heavier and had the supper red face just added to the plot and humor.
    Being older in their age group I watched almost wanting to join them and loved when they would try to sleep in their silly tents and then next be in a bunk or a room in a cabin or motel at other stops and towns along the trail.
    It had a nice pace and everyone around me was also completely wrapped up with this movie as if they were on the journey also. So much better than that other hiking movie with Reese Witherspoon.
    How to handle a grizzly was a good event since I have only delt with a brown bear but the same idea worked.
    It might not be a good movie for the younger crowd but anyone in their senior years or mature ,might just get a kick out of it, so from me I give it at least a 3 1/2.

  • Jo F.

    I saw it over the weekend. It was okay. I wanted to like it alot more. I would give it 3 stars out of 5 because i never really got bored watching it

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