A Walk in the Woods  (2015)    61/100

Rating :   61/100                                                                     104 Min        15

Adapted from Bill Bryson’s 1998 novel that recounted his expedition along the Appalachian Trail, which runs from Georgia to Maine, and starring Robert Redford as Bryson and Nick Nolte as his mate Stephen Katz, who turns up for the trek in a less than ideal physical state. Both the leads deliver very likeable performances and, along with the occasional vista of wonderful scenery, they are what make an otherwise far too light, breezy and unremarkable film quite reasonable, if underwhelming, entertainment.

Along their journey they meet various other people – none of whom seem in any way real, rather they have been accentuated to an extreme for the sake of comedy, and yet we’re supposed to be watching a retelling of a real adventure for the pair so it does largely detract from what the film could have aspired to be, and indeed it’s been done so heavy handedly that it also ruins what should have been decent comedy.

Having said that, it never really goes so far as to be completely off-putting, but relating to Bryson’s remarks – that his initial jolt of excitement at having the work adapted and himself played by Redford quickly gave way to foreboding that the story was about to be taken out of his own hands (it was adapted by Rick Kerb and Bill Holderman, each making their screenwriting debut, with ‘Big Miracle’ {12} director Ken Kwapis at the helm), this indeed definitely has the feel of a much diluted version of the source material. With Emma Thompson and Mary Steenburgen briefly in support as respectfully Bryson’s wife and a random hot innkeeper they meet on the trail, and in the end it’s not great but remains a pleasant enough Sunday afternoon film to watch and relax with.

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