Written by Justin Zackham
Directed by Rob Reiner
Running Time: 1:37
for language, including a sexual reference.
The Bucket List was a decent film that promised more adventure than it ultimately provided.
Edward Cole and Carter Chambers both have diseases that give them only a few months to live. Edward is a rich, single playboy who has no family connections and can afford to do whatever he pleases. Carter on the other hand, has been married for most of his life, and gave up his dreams of becoming a professor in order to take care of his family. He has regrets and as he contemplates his life, he puts together a bucket list - a list of things to do before he kicks the bucket. He and Edward quickly become friends as they are confined to their hotel room, and with Edward's money, they take a trip around the world. From skydiving to visiting Egypt to climbing the world's tallest mountains, the two do all they can to live life to the fullest before it comes to an end.
The commercials for The Bucket List lead you to believe this will be the kind of film where two old people go out and do things young people normally would do. And there is some of that in the film, but the movie is much more about the two of them talking to each other. For a film that runs almost 100 minutes, there probably isn't much more than 15 minutes of adventure. The rest of the time they're either in the hospital talking to each other, or in a hotel or house somewhere. So I felt a little ripped off into thinking this would be an adventure film when it's really more of a drama.
As a drama it was OK. The film feels very slow at times and although it's not that long, you want them to pick up the pace a little. It's kind of hard to relate to the two characters because unless you've been there, how do you understand what it's like to only have a few months to live? Maybe the idea is to have everyone make their own bucket list right now, regardless of their age. If that were true, however, you'd think they would have tried to make that point by having Carter's kids do something exciting. Instead, most of the supporting cast is relegated to the sidelines, and in the end, not being all that important. And I never did understand the relationship between Edward and the character played by Sean Hayes. Why would he put up with the old man so much? Was it just about money? Why was there even a little respect there, considering the way he was treated?
What does make the film decent is having the immense acting talents of Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. Nicholson may be past his peak as an actor and now seemingly more a parody of himself than anything else, but even at his age, he's got a charm about him that's undeniable. Freeman on the other hand hit his stride later in life and to me, still at his peak. He's got such a smooth charm that you can't help but root for me. And his voice is world famous to the point where other movies use it even when he's not actually in the film. If Kenny Loggins was the master of the soundtrack back in the 80s, Freeman is master of the voiceover today and forever. Freeman and Nicholson work well together, even if they are kind of an odd pairing. They play well off of each other and you can sort of understand how they'd be friends. Maybe not in a normal everyday situation, but with both of them coming to the end of their lives, you can see how they'd bond. When they do go into adventure situations, you can't help but smile.
The extras on DVD were few and far between and frankly, not really worth talking about. Considering the talent involved having a discussion with the screenwriter is a letdown. The amount of film history between Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman and Rob Reiner is tremendous and I can't believe there wasn't more available. Maybe they're planning a special edition down the road because this is an opportunity they can't pass up.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I was a little disappointed with The Bucket List. From everything they show in commercials, I expected an adventure film but I got a drama. As a drama it was OK and helped mainly by the acting talents of the two leads.
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