“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.