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Robert Redford’s ‘A Walk in the Woods’ Splits Critics: ‘Sheer Delight’ or ‘Lax, Lame’

Drama starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte opened on Wednesday

With a 49 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, critics are split right down the middle of the road about Robert Redford‘s new film, “A Walk in the Woods,” the big-screen adaptation of Bill Bryson’s best-selling travel memoir.

Reviews diverge wildly on the Broad Green Pictures release directed by Ken Kwapis, which made $1.2 million on its opening day Wednesday, and is hiking up towards a $7 million estimate gross for the Labor Day holiday weekend.

While some loved the storyline and the fact that both Redford and costar Nick Nolte are returning to the screen together as a writer and his pal hiking the 2,000-mile-plus Adirondack Trail, others weren’t as content with the film.

TheWrap has compiled five great reviews, and five bad reviews — critics are leaving it completely up to the audience to decide whether they want to go see it or not.

Marjorie Baumgarten, Austin Chronicle:

“‘A Walk in the Woods’ is a sterling showcase for two great acting veterans, Robert Redford and Nick Nolte. Watching these two interact and listening to their wizened characters’ riffs amid gorgeous scenery (filmed by another film veteran, cinematographer John Bailey) is a sheer delight – which is a good thing since that comprises the bulk of the movie.”

Bilge Ebiri, Vulture:

“The lax, lame ‘A Walk in the Woods’ is a road movie without a road, a journey of self-discovery without discovery, and a tale of friendship without any chemistry.”

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune:

“There’s something here that is warmly entertaining as the stars gripe at each other across the country. These are characters you instantly like and want to succeed as they plod from failure to failure. […] There’s something delightful about watching two snappish old men relentlessly take the Mickey out of each other as long as you’re shown their underlying fondness.”

Jeff Baker, Oregonian:

“Kwapis stages everything like a sitcom, has no sense of pace, and buries the theme of late-life friendship under a haze of sentiment and trail dust. ‘A Walk in the Woods’ could be called ‘I Need a

Edward Douglas, ComingSoon.net:

“‘A Walk in the Woods’ will probably score with mainstream movie audiences over 50, but it’s just another comedy that tries too hard for laughs and ends up with a batting average below 50 percent.”

Manohla Dargis, The New York Times:

“Mostly, though, it is unexpectedly moving and occasionally delightful to spend time with these titans of cinema as they walk and sometimes wobble, delivering words that become meaningful because they’re lucky enough to be spoken by Mr. Redford and Mr. Nolte.”

Tom Long, The Detroit News:

“Redford may be a bit too old for the role, but his line delivery is as casually perfect as ever. And Nolte’s physical gifts have not diminished one iota — he can make falling onto a bed feel both momentous and sensual and that grumble of a voice is a gift from the gods. Nolte has three Oscar acting nominations to his credit, Redford has one; In ‘A Walk in the Woods’ they show what true cinematic chemistry is all about without appearing to be acting at all.”

Kyle Smith, New York Post:

“Tame gags are about all the film has to offer. Major distributors were in attendance at the premiere; the chief of one of them left halfway through.”

Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News:

“While older audiences will go for it, even viewers who haven’t acquired the wisdom of age can learn something.”

Connie Ogle, Miami Herald:

“But too much of the breezy humor that made the book a delight is stripped away, replaced with predictable jokes and broad slapstick, sitcom-quality encounters with women and bears and a pushy, grating sentimentality. “