(director/writer: Emilio Estevez; screenwriter: based on the book “Off the Road: A Modern-Day Walk Down the Pilgrim’s Route”by Jack Hitt; cinematographer: Juanmi Azpiroz; editor: Raúl Dávalos; music: Tyler Bates; cast: Emilio Estevez (Daniel), Martin Sheen (Tom), Deborah Kara Unger (Sarah), Yorick van Wageningen (Joost), James Nesbitt (Jack), Antonio Gil(Ishmael); Runtime: 115; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: David Alexanian/Emilio Estevez; Producers Distribution Agency and Arc Entertainment; 2010)

It’s the kind of mushy pic you might be inspired to walk out on.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Emilio Estevez (“Bobby”)directs, writes, coproduces and has a small part in this heavy-handed inspirational religious pic, that offers life lessons in Christian values over such hot button topics as estranged relations between father and son, being a lapsed Catholic, dealing with an abusive husband, abortion, gluttony, gypsies who steal backpacks and the ordinary challenges of dealing with everyday life. It tries to show us how a modern-day pilgrim might act, who is besieged by personal problems and is looking for a religious answer. It’s based on the book “Off the Road: A Modern-Day Walk Down the Pilgrim’s Route”by Jack Hitt.

The embittered career-minded Tom (Martin Sheen, father of the director) is an irritable California ophthalmologist with a rich practice and an estranged rebellious adventurous 40-year-old only son named Daniel (Emilio Estevez). While golfing with his fellow country club swells, Tom receives a call from a French police captain that Daniel accidentally died in the French Pyrenees during a storm while on the first leg of a pilgrimage walk of 800km to the Camino de Santiago in Spain’s Pyrenees (which is also known as The Way of Saint James). Tom comes to St. Jean Pied de Port, France, to identify the body and collect the remains of his son. After deciding to cremate his son, Tom goes on the pilgrimage using his son’s backpack and carrying in a metal box his son’s ashes, which he intends to scatter along the way.

It was bad enough having to deal with the arrogant goody-goody Tom, but on the pilgrimage he meets these three other equally arrogant pilgrims who become his traveling companions: the overweight loud-mouth glutton known as Joost from Amsterdam (Yorick van Wageningen), who goes on the journey to lose weight; the angry sharp-tongued feminist Sarah from Canada (Deborah Kara Unger), who goes on the journey to quit smoking; and the showoff hack travel journal writer named Kack from Ireland (James Nesbitt), who has writer’s block while on assignment to write a pilgrimage story.

It was unbearable to watch this insipid and trite pilgrimage, that went on and on making simplistic Christian value points about life until it became an insufferable watch. It’s the kind of mushy pic you might be inspired to walk out on.

The Way