Redford and Nolte Plod Through the 'Woods'

Movie Review - Jackie K Cooper
"A Walk In the Woods" (Broad Green Pictures)

Robert Redford and Nick Nolte co-star in the film "A Walk In the Woods," which is based on a book of the same name by Bill Bryson. It is an aimless film about two disparate men who team up to walk the Appalachian Trail, a trek of some seventeen hundred miles. But this is no "Wild" and the appeal of the film is in the comedy, not the drama of the story.

The movie turns out to be a combination of "Grumpy Old Men" and "The Odd Couple" which is a good thing. Unfortunately the comedic rapport between the two stars is nothing like that of Matthau and Lemon. They both have their grumpy moments, and Nolte plays the slob while Redford is the more uptight one.

There is also a lot of emphasis on the fact these two men are doing this adventure to prove they are still alive and well. The ages of the characters are never given but in this age of knowing everything it is no secret Redford is seventy-nine and Nolte is seventy-four. So to see two men in their seventies start out on such a challenging task is daunting.

Earlier in his career Redford was quite good at comedy ("Barefoot In the Park") but time seems to have worn down his timing and delivery. Nolte comes off better but then he has the better written role. Stephen Katz (Nolte) is a raucous type who is also a recovering alcoholic. So there is more depth there to mine than there is with Redford's married and traditional Bill Bryson.

Emma Thompson, Mary Steenbergen and Kristen Schaal have the supporting female roles in the movie. Thompson is forgettable, Steenbergen is adorable, and Schaal is intentionally annoying. None of the three have very much screen time.

The movie is rated R for profanity.

For those of us who have followed their careers it is obvious "the Prince of Tides" and "the Sundance Kid" are getting older. That doesn't mean they cannot still make entertaining movies. This attempt at comedy is just not one that will appeal to a wide range of people. The Geezer and the Preppie are not enough of an odd couple to compel audiences to watch for two hours.

"A Walk In the Woods" becomes a plod through the woods, and ends up being more of an endurance test than it was intended to be.

I scored "A Walk In the Woods" a outdoorsy 5 out of 10.

Jackie K Cooper
www.jackiekcooper.com