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|Originaltitel:||A Walk in the Woods|
|Laufzeit:||Ca. 104 min.|
|FSK:||From 0 years|
The famous travel writer Bill Bryson (Robert Redford) used to travel around the world and lead an extremely exciting life. But now he has to come to terms with his retirement and take it easy from now on. But Bill just won't accept that. Despite the energetic persuasion of his wife Cathy (Emma Thompson), Bill wants to plunge into one last great adventure: the conquest of the 3,500 kilometre Appalachian Trail. However, the search for a suitable hiking partner is surprisingly difficult and so in the end only his old school friend Steven Katz (Nick Nolte), a former alcoholic and slightly overweight good-for-nothing, who is actually completely unsuitable for such a company, remains. But Bill wants to master the legendary hiking trail across the USA. He reluctantly agrees to Steven and together the two aging men embark on the exhausting and exciting journey to the American wilderness, which will hold some unexpected surprises for their lives, friendship and future…
"Picnic with Bears" is based on the bestseller by Bill Bryson, whose books are known for their very special humour and the author's wonderful powers of observation. The movie version of Ken Kwapis ("The Call of the Whales", "He just doesn't like you") is a bit conventional and doesn't really correspond to the style and humor of Bill Bryson. Nevertheless, the film has become a beautiful story about the problems of aging, about friendship and about the relationship between man and nature. Robert Redford and Nick Nolte are very well cast as unequal friends, because despite the obvious differences between the two characters they make it clear why they were friends once and why they could become friends again now. Therefore it is fun to accompany them on their journey, even if it is not only riddled with all sorts of inconveniences and dangers, but also with a lot of clichés.
For even if you have seen it all countless times before, it is still amusing to watch Bill and Katz being confronted with their advancing age and the associated restrictions after only a few meters on the Appalachian Trail. When annoying companions suddenly become more painful than the painful blisters on their feet, when the way to the next supermarket threatens to end in a catastrophe, or when the tensions between the men increase constantly, then this provides the viewer with pleasure and amusement.
Real surprises should not be expected. Unlike Bill and Katz, who take a real risk with their journey, the staging always remains on safe paths. Thus the only real moment of tension was so obviously staged in the studio that it loses any effect. And the conciliatory ending can actually be ignored from the opening credits. Nevertheless, the film has a lot of wit, charm and nice pictures, so that the target audience of the generation 50+ is offered really nice entertainment here. So if you don't expect more than an entertaining excursion with two strange birds, you can confidently join this "picnic with bears". Worth seeing
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