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Running Time:
1 hour 38 minutes

Rating: R Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Adult.

Rating Explanation:
for language and some sexual references

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
It's amiable but no more compelling than any other any road trip movie.

Additional Info:
Robert Redford ... Bill Bryson
Nick Nolte ... Stephen Katz
Emma Thompson ... Catherine
Mary Steenburgen ... Jeannie
Nick Offerman ... REI Dave
Kristen Schaal ... Mary Ellen
R. Keith Harris ... Sam Bryson
Randall Newsome ... TV Host
Hayley Lovitt ... Donna
Linds Edwards ... Darren

A Walk in the Woods
Bill Bryson (Robert Redford) is a well-recognized author who decides one day to hike the Appalachian Trail -- a hiking trail in the Eastern United States that runs some 2,000 miles -- without really knowing why. His wife (Emma Thompson) insists that he not travel alone, and so, after many turn-downs, his old friend Stephen Katz (Nick Nolte) volunteers to accompany him.

Katz arrives at Bryson's home in New Hampshire, overweight and out-of-shape. He's a grouchy but friendly fellow who traveled to Europe with Bryson when both were younger men, not the best of friends but tolerant companions. A similar chemistry emerges after they fly south to Georgia and begin their hike. Although Bryson is in better shape, they are both older men and the hilly terrain tasks their physical abilities. While their friendship is put to the test by various obstacles, including an extremely talkative and self-confident hiker named Mary Ellen (Kristen Schaal), the journey allows them to rekindle their youthful connection and reflect upon the past, the present, the natural beauty that surrounds them, and the vagaries of life.

The lighthearted tone of the movie is established early, as Bryson endures an appearance on a television show to promote his latest collection of books, spends quality time with his wife at a funeral, and then mulls over his next adventure.  

Redford, who turned 79 this year, and Nolte, who is 74, are both about 30 years older than their real-life equivalents at the time the real-life story took place. They look quite good, as actors should, but their age means that the movie employs a fair amount of work by stand-ins and stunt people. For a movie that occasionally showcases some stunning scenes of beauty, it spends even more time showing Bryson and Katz stumbling through the woods. It's evident that the two men enjoy a degree of comfort, a shared history of riding the ups and downs of careers in the entertainment business, one perhaps more successful than the other. Their personal relationship, whatever it may be, bleeds into the movie, which is strengthened by that bond.
A Walk in the Woods directed by Ken Kwapis, is an altogether pleasant movie, except whenever Redford smiles, or makes a joke, then the years lift off his face, and all is right with the world, at least as long as the film continues.

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