As many reviewers have noted, A Walk in the Woods plods along. I'm not so sure that's a defect. After all, how many of our lives zip and zoom? There were, however, enough gaps to be annoying. Thus, at a family-run hotel the mother of the operator seemed to have some sort of dementia. Sitting at the front desk without apparent comprehension she reached for and tightly held the hand of Katz as he and Bryson checked in. At her daughter's urging, mom eventually let go. But in subsequent conversations with the daughter nothing about mom was asked or discussed. A missed opportunity and a noticeable oversight.
Katz's exceptionally profane manner of speech probably accounts for the film's R rating. One assumes the screenplay reflects Bryson's book and it in turn Katz's patterns of everyday conversation. Viewers might nonetheless wish to know that his vulgarity level is quite high.
Both lead characters demonstrate development. Bryson's level of pretension falls and Katz's level of self-awareness increases. By the time they quit the hike both feel free to return home without regret. Being satisfied with home and ultimately with the life we've lead is the film's theme. Satisfaction with one's efforts and the process of life, not social or professional success, is the key to happiness.
We thought A Walk in the Woods was worthwhile and with the foregoing cautionary notes recommend it to others.