The Bucket List
- Rob Reiner
- Reviewed by
- Gon Curiel a.k.a. Groucho
- Review date
- Sunday, February 08, 2009
The result is exactly what I expected, based on the comments I heard back then: two reliable first-rate actors wrestle with a strictly feel-good crowd-pleasing limited script that despite its shortcomings ends up capturing the worst of cynics after all; a sufficiently good job, in all, letís say, but never above average. Still, Iíll find it really hard to pan the output; it would feel rather abusive, donít know why. Iíll be as objective as I possibly can.
Justin Zackhamís screenplay does what scripts are not supposed to do: facilitate everything for the characters to help them achieve their pursuits. If they find an obstacle, itís trivial and easily overcome. Sometimes itís a relief, though, to just cut to the chase and see whatís the point. Drama is sacrificed for the sake of heartwarming, and thatís why being objective is hard in this case, because the heart interferes and makes things subjective (it can be discussed, though, that nothing is objective in a criticís opinion, though, because heís using his point of view at all times, but thatís a different subject which I also, curiously, discussed lengthily with my coach).
Two old men are near death: mechanic Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman, who also narrates, what a shocker!) and tycoon Edward Cole (Jack Nicholson). Sharing a room, they get to know each other and inevitably bond during their illnesses. When they find out theyíre dying, Carter starts working on a list of things to do before he ďkicks the bucketĒ. Edward proposes they go wild with that list and make their wildest dreams come true, because money is not an object (thanks to the writer, of course). This sets off the motions for an around-the-world adventure that leads, after all is said and done, and quite predictably, to the menís achievement of a happy ending for their lives, which they improve considerably during their last stage.
Itís very easy to sit through The Bucket List because itís so simple, humorous, and starring two charming and fantastic actors, though Nicholson is hammy as hell like he doesnít give a darn, which he has very good reasons to, by the way, but itís still unjustifiable. Their globetrotting adventures arenít nearly as exciting or as funny as they could be, but good enough to make the points they want to make. The rest is neatly wrapped up and the list plays quite an important role.
I thanked my coach for the recommendation; though Iíve seen countless films, I have rarely seen one so effective in the specific point of making most of life at all times as this one does. Ironic, right?, for a film that Iím criticizing in a rather murky light. I need to be objective, but I canít deny the aftertaste is awesome.
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Other reviews of The Bucket List (2007): Morris