A Walk in the Woods
In this new comedy adventure, celebrated travel writer Bill Bryson challenges himself to hike the Appalachian Trail — 2,200 miles of America’s most unspoiled, spectacular and rugged countryside from Georgia to Maine — instead of retiring to enjoy his loving and beautiful wife and large and happy family. The peace and tranquility he hopes to find, though, is lacking, once he agrees to accompany the only person he can find willing to join him on the trek. His long lost and former friend Katz, a down-on-his-luck serial philanderer who, after a lifetime of relying on his charm and wits to keep one step ahead of the law, sees the trip as a way to sneak out of paying some debts and sneak in one last adventure before it’s too late. The trouble is, the two have a completely different definition of the word “adventure.” Now they’re about to find out that when you push yourself to the edge, the real fun begins.
“A Walk in the Woods” is witty and features lots of clever banter between the main characters, Bill Bryson and Stephen Katz. Robert Redford and Nick Nolte are an unlikely pair, with Redford playing the straight man, author Bryson, and Nolte providing the comedy relief of the movie. It is as much a film about growing older as it is about two old friends, opposites in many respects, who still maintain a close friendship and learn about each other.
When Bryson comes up with the idea of hiking the Appalachian Trail, his wife Catherine (Emma Thompson) isn’t keen on the idea and leaves books by his bed for him to read — books about bear attacks in the woods and people dying from infections while hiking. But those books don’t deter him. Catherine insists that Bill find a walking companion. So, in a comedic scene early in the film, he leaves several phone messages for his old friends to see which one would be willing to walk with him on the trail over a period of months. He gets some funny responses, such as “That sounds fun, Bill, right up there with getting a colonoscopy.” Only Katz responds positively to the invitation.
Despite the beautiful scenery and humorous moments, the film contains strong and harsh language, along with several sexual innuendos and comments, in addition to rear male nudity. So, we are unable to award it our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal.