For the first time, two screen legends star together on the bring screen, embracing life... and death. Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, two of the most respected, highly regarded and talented actors ever, form the first great buddy duo of the 21st century in The Bucket List.
Call it a comedy, or call it a drama, but The Bucket List is a funny, heartwarming tale of two men who know they're going to die and who have a limited time to accomplish their life's goals. A remnant of the holiday season, the movie has hung around for nearly two months - more than a month in wide release - and the theater was still two-thirds full. I had relegated it to the rental list after a slew of so-so reviews, but I'm glad I saw it when I did: the film is a genuinely entertaining and funny little movie. It won't win any awards, but it's a feel good film that audiences of all ages and genders will appreciate (except for the three people who walked out of the theater halfway through).
The Bucket List is about two old strangers who find themselves roommates at a treatment center after they are diagnosed with life threatening cancer. While one is a mechanic (Freeman) and the other is the millionaire (Nicholson) who owns the treatment center, among many others, the two slowly form a strong bond. When they are both given the prognosis that they have less than a year to live, they decide to travel around the world together to knock off the items on their "bucket list", a list of things you want to do before you kick the bucket.
Nicholson and Freeman are a great team, and without them, The Bucket List wouldn't be nearly as good. These two actors, who are always fun to watch regardless of the quality of the film they're in, have excellent chemistry, and play off each other well. Neither step out of their comfort zones, but just watching these two interact is a blast.
Complimenting the acting is the screenplay, written by Justin Zackham. Again, the writing won't win any awards, but Zackham caters the dialogue and story to his actors' strengths, and the synergy really shows.
That being said, the movie does gloss over the duo's travels a bit. While I think the film was the appropriate length (only 97 minutes), Zackhan and director Rob Reiner missed out on some opportunities to show these men interacting in far-off locations. There are brief scenes in each location, but Reiner misses an opportunity to show off some great scenery and add to the funny moments. It's also disappointing to see that all of the foreign scenery is stock footage; apparently, Warner Brothers spent so much money on its actors that there wasn't any left to actually put these actors on location, or at least make it look like they're on location.
The Bucket List has a few mildly slow parts, but most of the time it is a consistently funny, touching film. Definitely recommended.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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