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Jack Nicholson
Morgan Freeman
Sean Hayes
Rob Morrow.
Rob Reiner.
Justin Zackham.
Running Time
97 minutes

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The Bucket List
Jack and Morgan don’t fear the Reaper

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Billionaire Cole (Nicholson) and auto mechanic Chambers (Freeman) have just one thing in common: both are dying of cancer. After bonding in hospital through their chemotherapy ordeals, the odd couple embark on a globe-trotting adventure...

The Bucket List

Everybody has a list these days. Besides the grocery shopping, screeds of places to go, movies to see and books to read, things to do before you kick the bucket are pretty popular. So while audiences may have cold-shouldered a string of films about older women making whoopee, the prospect of Jack Nicholson being characteristically, quixotically Jack-like, and Morgan Freeman, playing his steadfast foil and doubling as sage narrator, gives Rob Reiner his likeliest shot in years.

This is a feelgood comedy about dying, with a message of ‘finding your joy’ and some delusions of profundity. Thus we are supposed to get over the preposterousness of a tycoon and a garage guy sharing a hospital room in the first place. Edward Cole’s (Nicholson) presence there is explained ad tedium as a necessary PR exercise. The billionaire actually owns the hospital and enforced a strict two-beds-per-room policy, blah-blah-blah...

It’s less clear how Freeman’s Carter Chambers has managed to pay for the insurance that keeps him in hospital for months on a mechanic’s salary. Never mind; Edward’s filthy lucre is the means for them to run off for a lifetime’s worth of fantasies and longings squeezed into their remaining weeks, before some inevitable 11th-hour relationship repairs.

And awww, we wouldn’t want to be deprived of the chaps gazing in awe at the Taj Mahal, the Pyramids, the Himalayas and the Great Wall Of China, enjoying an African safari, eating caviar in the south of France, skydiving and driving vintage race cars. Of course, they can’t just go do these things; they have to have 80 conversations around the world, in which they ponder the meaning of life, debate the existence of God and all that stuff while Edward’s long-suffering factotem (Sean Hayes) brings up the rear with the baggage and the wisecracks.

Dismayingly, the visual effects are so dodgy it’s obvious the actors are sitting on the same soundstage while the second unit’s holiday snaps pass behind them. There is some joy to be found, however, in the interplay between the duo, and some good laughs: “What the hell are you doing here?” “Fighting for my life. You?”

The script is weak and obvious and the direction disappointingly unimaginative. But stars are stars, and the old boys are terrific - enough to make this a funny and sometimes moving buddy picture.

Reviewed by Angie Errigo

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Bucket List
Empire Star Rating

Melodramatic Claptrap

Enjoyable though it may be, The Bucket List paves a way for itself by hitting the audience with a bombshell in the opening reel, and, in all honesty, never quite recovers from it. The characters that we're meant to sympathize with are underdeveloped and somewhat one-dimensional. The script suffers from severe monotony, despite some amusing scenarios, and the two leads look like they'd rather be anywhere else on the planet but on set. Not bad, but not a great movie either. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaud at 10:29, 16 March 2011 | Report This Post

Empire way off the mark

This isn't a comedy a thriller or a horror. Its simply a film about life and it makes you think about your own and not to waste it. No film like this can be the greatest film ever, however it fulfills it purpose of making you think. 4stars ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by logansbearing at 10:04, 07 August 2008 | Report This Post

Not quite so succesfull

Saw it in the sneak yesterday: A not totally succesfull mix of comedy and drama about 2 men (Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman) who both get the news that they`re terminally ill. They make a list (The Bucket List) of things they wanna do before they pass on. The choice of making it a mix of 2 genres isn`t quite succesfull. The comedy part as well as the drama part on itself are good and make you laugh and (almost) cry. That makes it all the more a pity that they didn`t decide to go fo... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheGodfather at 20:18, 21 March 2008 | Report This Post

A 4 star comedy

This is a delight. it IS IS moving...and its predictability is not such a fault as you make it out to be. It is almost fairy-tale like in its approach so i don't mind the unrealism. Jack N. is HILARIOUS in this film....can't rem the last time i laughed so 'Jack' quote: "...never trust a fart..." ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by claudemg at 21:49, 04 March 2008 | Report This Post

RE: Bucket Of Shit !

I actually enjoyed this a whole lot more than I thought I would, mainly due to Nicholson and Freeman being as watchable as ever. This is clearly not a film aimed at the younger generation and the direction and pacing are perfectly suited to a film of this kind. 3 stars ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by skeletonjack at 17:03, 27 February 2008 | Report This Post

Bucket Of Shit !

There's something about a Morgan Freeman voiceover that gets you onside immediately. And Jack Nicholson has the market for cantankerous old farts cornered. However, they both need better material than is afforded here. The two unlikely friends join forces and scribble down a list things they'd like to do before they kick the bucket - hence the title. A turgid drama, The Bucket List starts and finishes even worse than the way you'd imagine, offering little or no surprises along the way. It uses... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by moviemaniac2 at 10:12, 19 February 2008 | Report This Post

RE: This is where Empire is wrong.

Is it wrong that I started to cry at the end??? I expected it to be funnier, and if anything found it a little dull. ... More

Posted by Walkerboy at 19:49, 15 February 2008 | Report This Post

This is where Empire is wrong.

They expect a Superbad or Knocked Up comedy, truthfully this is a 4 star fun and moving buddy comedy that's made to make you feel good. The script is not weak, the direction doesn't have to be imaginative. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by indysid at 22:45, 11 February 2008 | Report This Post

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