After the death of an acquaintance, travel writer Bill Bryson (Robert Redford) decides to hike the Appalachian Trail. To appease the concerns of his loving wife (Emma Thompson), Bryson enlists old, out-of-shape pal, Stephen Katz (Nick Nolte) to ensure he does not die alone on the trail. Had Redford also directed this adaptation of Bill Bryson’s book, the results may have been more cinematic and less sitcom-ic.
This film about two aging friends certainly benefits from its leading duo’s acting chops and charisma. Redford remains strikingly good-looking at the age of 79, and Nolte’s wear-and-tear lends him a serious weight he wears well. He’s also still a damn funny actor. But the scenarios as scripted by Rick Kerb and Bill Holderman, both first-time screenwriters, play out with an episodic predictability not elevated by director Ken Kwapis, who has spent most of his time behind the camera on television programs like NBC’s “The Office.”
Still, the movie embraces its feel-good persona and does not wear out its welcome, though one imagines it a weak adaptation of a book that, as humorous as it might be, had a bit more to say.
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