The Bucket List (2007)
The Bucket List (2007)

Genre: Dramatic Comedy Running Time: 1 hr. 37 min.

Release Date: December 25th, 2007 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Rob Reiner Actors: Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman, Sean Hayes, Beverly Todd, Rob Morrow, Alfonso Freeman, Rowena King, Verda Bridges, Jennifer DeFrancisco

 


 

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ne of the most fun and uplifting films of the year, Rob Reiner’s “The Bucket List” is also a likely contender for Academy Award attention. Wonderfully sarcastic dialogue, poignant exchanges between excellently crafted characters, and an overall beautiful tale of mortality and morality, “The Bucket List” is a sensational opportunity for two of the greatest actors of our time to show off their inimitable talents. Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman have a chemistry that will have audiences laughing themselves into tears before crying at the sight of resoundingly touching events.

Edward Cole (Jack Nicholson) is an incredibly wealthy hospital owner who firmly believes that he’s running infirmaries instead of health spas – and therefore demands that each room contain two beds and two patients. When a twist of fate lands him in his own hospital (not unlike the role reversal tales of “The Super” or “Maid to Order” or even “Back to School”), he’s stuck sharing a room with Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman). Both men are dying of cancer and both prognoses are only a few months left to live. The two slowly but surely realize how much they enjoy each other’s company, so when Carter begins writing a “bucket list,” Jack prompts him to see it through. The list is a collection of all the things both Edward and Carter would like to accomplish in their remaining months (before they kick the bucket) – and with Cole’s riches, the two arrange to tour the world, skydive, and race racecars, among other daredevil stunts. As their printed goals begin to come to an end, they contemplate the abundance of last-minute living they’ve managed in such a short time – and the degree to which their brief friendship has impacted their lives.

Jack Nicholson’s performance is spot-on as the curmudgeonly, Ebenezer role, who receives a change of heart and a shift in perspective with Carter’s acquaintance. Little character development is necessary, since Jack’s style hasn’t transformed much over the last few years, allowing audiences to remain familiar with his demeanor and attitude. The same can be said for Morgan Freeman, who continues to play parts that accentuate his knack for the worldly, wise, and good-natured everyman. It’s rare to see two actors working together so naturally – it’s as if this odd couple was destined for these personas (or, more likely, it’s as if the script was written with them in mind).

Another aspect, which is a great credit to screenwriter Justin Zackham, is the dialogue, which is continually hilarious even while it borders on heartbreaking. Sarcasm and cynicism infuse the conversations with a potent zest that never tires. But as meaningful, affecting, and downright funny as the script comes across, the overall tone of the film might feel commonplace in contemporary cinema. Comparisons are bound to be drawn to similarly crafted works, such as “Driving Miss Daisy” and “As Good as it Gets,” paired with the unmistakable virtues of “A Christmas Carol” and “It’s A Wonderful Life” – though these are certainly fine projects from which to borrow.

– Mike Massie

  • 8/10