REVIEW: A Walk In The Woods (15) ****

Robert Redford and Nick Nolte star in A Walk In The Woods. PA Photo/ film company.
Robert Redford and Nick Nolte star in A Walk In The Woods. PA Photo/ film company.
Picture: RNLI

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For more than 30 years, Iowan-born journalist Bill Bryson has popularised the art of travel writing.

He has lived on this side of the Atlantic for the majority of that time and his affectionate tour of the British Isles, documented in the 1995 book Notes From A Small Island, painted a hilarious portrait of these proud countries.

Bryson returned to America for several years after the book’s publication and during this period, he hiked the physically demanding Appalachian Trail with good friend Stephen Katz, which provided the inspiration for the book A Walk In The Woods.

Ken Kwapis’ film version retains the writer’s wry sense of humour and episodic structure, and provides Nick Nolte with a peach of a part as the crotchety sidekick, who wheezes and puffs in Bryson’s shadow as they wander the 2,200 miles separating Georgia and Maine.

Imagine two ill-prepared, grouchy old men undertaking the same physical exertions as Reese Witherspoon in the Oscar nominated biographical drama Wild, you’ll be well prepared for this hugely entertaining trip through the sprawling American outdoors.

Robert Redford lends his dashing good looks to the lead role of family man Bryson, who hopes to get himself out of a rut by trekking the Appalachian Trail.

Imagine two ill-prepared, grouchy old men undertaking the same physical exertions as Reese Witherspoon in the Oscar nominated biographical drama Wild,

Unexpectedly, old travelling companion Katz (Nick Nolte) agrees to accompany Bill and the two men stuff their backpacks to capacity for the obstacles ahead.

A Walk In The Woods rests on the sturdy shoulders of Redford and Nolte and they prove to be a delicious double-act.

Kwapis savours the comical set pieces including Katz’s laundromat seduction of a lady whose silky smalls are snagged in one of the washing machines.

Hearty guffaws are nicely balanced with moments of introspection and regret, making us wish this wonderful walk in the woods lasted longer than its 104 minutes.