“A Walk in the Woods” is quite the quiet, quixotic quandary. Difficult alliterations aside, I was pleasantly surprised. I hadn’t heard anything about this movie prior to its release and was immensely thankful I wasn’t obligated to see “The Transporter Refueled.” That would have been truly unfortunate.
“A Walk in the Woods” is some odd amalgamation of the Reese Witherspoon hiking movie “Wild” and the old guys rediscovering their youth biker flick, “Wild Hogs.” In making that comparison, I’m compelled to inform readers that “A Walk in the Woods” is less well-made, and less poetic than “Wild” and somewhat less comedic than “Wild Hogs,” but it is far more adventure-comedy than either of them. It very much cuts its own path.
The esteemed Robert Redford and the less-esteemed but infinitely more-gravelly voiced Nick Nolte embark on the titular walk down the Appalachian Trail and both wholesome and not-so-wholesome laughs ensue, not to mention a healthy dose of Robert Redford-esque teachable moments and life lessons. I’ve not seen all of Robert Redford’s movies, but my favorite is easily 2001’s “The Last Castle,” where Redford plays an Army general incarcerated in a military prison who rises to the defense of the inmates against a corrupt warden, played by the late James Gandolfini. Redford’s characters in “The Last Castle” and “A Walk in the Woods” are similar, almost too similar, but since it’s a great, easily watchable characterization, it’s easy to let it slide.
Be warned, this isn’t a family-friendly movie like “Wild Hogs.” Nolte plays his down-on-his-luck character to great, and vulgar, effect. There are more than a few great moments in “A Walk in the Woods,” but for language reasons alone, this one isn’t for the kiddos. Luckily, and somewhat inexplicably, my favorite film of the year thus far, Pixar’s “Inside Out,” is back in theatres and is playing in Hays as of this writing. Adults, go see “A Walk in the Woods,” it’s well worth your time, but more importantly, everyone needs to grab anyone they know and rush to see “Inside Out.” It’s Pixar’s crowning achievement and will be remembered as an indescribably well-made and fearless look into what it means to be human.
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