The Bucket List (2008)

Director:  Rob Reiner
Cast:  Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman, Sean Hayes
Plot:  Two terminally ill men escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die.

Genre:  Adventure / Comedy / Drama
Awards:  -
Runtime:  97min
Rating:  PG for language, including a sexual reference.

The Bucket List is directed by Rob Reiner - the person responsible for modern classics like The Princess Bride and Stand By Me.  A few months before its release, there seemed to be a growing anticipation for The Bucket List

Starring two of American cinema’s most recognizable faces - Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman- in leading roles about two old guys getting terminal cancer and are hospitalized in the same ward. 

One of them starts to pen down a list of things to do before he kicks the bucket.  His partner happens to chance upon the list and challenges the both of them to actually go out and do it.

From then on, watching The Bucket List is like observing how two strangers try their best to find real joy in their lives before they depart the world.  Reiner emphasizes more on the relationship between the two central characters than anything else.  Yes, there's character development which is important.  

Unfortunately, the plot is thin and too predictable.  Moreover, it leaves little room for the story to expand to greater depths; hence the film becomes another familiar ninety minutes of dispensable entertainment.  Though it doesn't disappoint, The Bucket List is still a relatively weak effort by Reiner's standards. 

The casting is spot-on.  As always, Nicholson and Freeman are scene-stealers, showing their acting prowess and their comfort working with each other.  In fact, the chemistry between them is excellent; naturally a fervent and zealous Jack Nicholson is much likely to complement a laidback Morgan Freeman. 

The Bucket List
 owes a great debt to the two Oscar-winners.  Without them, the film is nothing.  The movie is an example in which acting solely drives the film while direction and story takes a step back.  Despite the optimism and energy shown by the actors, the film is at times dull and slow to sit through.  Critical reaction to The Bucket List is definitely far from enthusiastic.

GRADE: C+ (6.5/10 or 3 stars)

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