Maybe if "Wild" hadn't done such a solid and visually rich job of portraying one woman's determination to restart her life by hiking 2000 miles, the banal platitudes and strange visual monotony of two older guys' determination to restart their lives by hiking 2000 miles in "A Walk in the Woods" wouldn't seem so subpar.
Maybe if Robert Redford hadn't done such harrowing, committed and honest work as a man battling nature in "All Is Lost," Robert Redford's lax, barely engaged work as a man meandering through nature in "A Walk in the Woods" wouldn't seem so subpar.
Maybe if "A Walk in the Woods" weren't having its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, a venue that doesn't always demand artistic or narrative experimentation but certainly rewards the work of risk-taking, it's bland and peculiar artistic and narrative flatness wouldn't seem so subpar.
But here we are in Park City, where "A Walk in the Woods" had a soft-premiere on Friday (January 23) morning before a gala launch in Salt Lake City, where presumably the distance from Sundance may make its innocuous nothingness feel less disappointing.
Surely there's an audience out there in the world for "Grumpy Old Outdoorsmen," even if Robert Redford & Nick Nolte are no Matthau & Lemmon.
But there's absolutely no way to shake the certainty that were one of its stars not the Founder & Grand Poobah of The Festival, Sundance never would have glanced in the direction of a film as mediocre as "A Walk in the Woods."
[More after the break...]