Plot: Two older men (Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman) are terminally ill, and after putting up a good fight, they decide to make a list of things to do before they die.
Who’s it for: Old people who are ready to give up on life. There is a slight chance this film could have a personal impact and inspire someone to chase a dream … slight chance.
Expectations: When you put two heavyweights in the same film, you hope something good would come of it. Freeman’s been good, but only in small roles with “Gone Baby Gone” and “Batman Begins.”
Jack Nicholson as Edward: Edward owns a slew of hospitals and his rule has always been “One room, two beds.” This leads him to getting bunked up with Carter. Nicholson’s performance is uncomfortable at best. We’re used to seeing him be the old guy hitting on young women, so are we ready to watch him go through an ugly round of chemo in the first half of the film?
Morgan Freeman as Carter: You’ll never guess who narrates the film? Yes, he has the perfect voice, but it is totally unnecessary for “The Bucket List” to have narration. Plus, Carter all but ignores his wife (Beverly Todd), which doesn’t endear us to him at all.
Sean Hayes as Thomas: Hayes, what are you doing here? Is this really the best scripts you are getting? Thomas is the assistant to Edward and there is just uncomfortable hate between the two of them. The “jokes” they exchange are not funny, which is why the quotes were needed around the word jokes.
Talking: As I said above, the narration was completely unnecessary and that is because the script is very basic and overexplains everything except for Carter leaving his wife to go on the adventure. There isn’t much depth between the friendship of Carter and Edward, and isn’t that the whole point of this film?
Sights and sounds: Little things bug me more than most people. The prime example in “The Bucket List” is the use of special effects. It doesn’t look real at all for Carter and Edward when they are skydiving, driving racecars or at the pyramids. They should have begged Paul Newman to do this film. At least they wouldn’t have needed a green screen when he was behind the wheel.
At one point Morgan Freeman’s character shouts, “This was supposed to be fun.” I couldn’t agree more. I don’t understand what is fun about watching a man discard his wife for most of the film after 45 years of supposedly happy marriage. “The Bucket List” almost had me in the beginning by really try to dive into what an extended bout of chemo can look and feel like. But then there wasn’t the great escape. Just a couple of old guys with special effects on an adventure that never felt real or exciting.
Overall Grade: 4