The Bucket List

"Weak"

The Bucket List Review


There will likely be people out there who will like The Bucket List. They will like its easy-to-follow premise, the hollow and overplayed jokes that occasionally come rumbling along, and the AARP-approved folksiness. And they'll really like Jack Nicholson, mugging for the camera as though terrified people will forget that he's still that same devilish old scamp he's been for longer than most moviegoers have been alive. This is not to say that the reason The Bucket List is a terrible film is because there are so many people out there predisposed to liking it. The Bucket List is a terrible film because it's thinly-conceived and even more thinly-executed faux serenity for the masses whose overbearing sentimentality trivializes death in a manner that's truly disturbing, even for Hollywood. But it will find its audience -- many terrible films do.

The conceit behind Justin Zackham's cloying script is a sort of retiree meet-cute: Stick two old guys from completely different backgrounds with utterly opposite points of view in the same hotel room, tell them both they've got terminal diseases that will kill them in a number of months, and then watch them try desperately to do everything in life they've never gotten around to. Make one of those old guys Nicholson and the other Morgan Freeman, add in a director like Rob Reiner who's shown himself in the past to possess both a sense of humor and compassion, and it would seem that the producers would have on their hands a film sure to please nearly everybody: raunchy camaraderie mixed in with earthy wisdom that stares death in the face and dares to crack a smile. Needless to say, that isn't the case here.

Freeman plays by far the more interesting of the two men: Carter Chambers, a lifelong mechanic and family man who also happens to be a fearsomely learned autodidact. Stoic and distant from his loving family, he's the kind of guy who's too gentlemanly to bother the hospital staff busy attending to his roommate. Nicholson plays Edward Cole, who's a favorite sort of Hollywood villain, a soullessly money-grubbing social-climber of a billionaire who cares more for his elaborate coffeemaker setup than actual human beings (in other words: probably not so different from many of the guys running movie studios). Neither actor is ultimately able to escape type -- Freeman is noble but flawed, Nicholson rascally and venal -- though for some of the film's early stretches they do at least seem to be trying; they are movie stars for a reason, after all.

If there's a point to be made in The Bucket List's favor, it's that it doesn't unnecessarily rush. To their credit, the filmmakers spend a good amount of time just with Chambers and Cole in that small hospital room, letting the odd couple warm up to each other. That way, once Cole decides that the two have to take Chambers' bucket list (an old classroom exercise to list all the things one wants to do in life) and start dashing around the world crossing things off, as horrible as the film becomes, at least you can believe these two very different men could actually stand each other's company.

Once the film gets seriously into its globe-trotting adventure segments (the Himalayas, the Taj Mahal) and extreme buddy bonding (racing cars, sky diving), it quickly starts to look less like a film than a series of travel ads targeted at active seniors. The primary difference is that most commercials wouldn't be so clearly studio-shot as this film is, with some astonishingly clumsy-looking backgrounds straining to look like a lush Mediterranean beach or the African savannah.

After the Cole-funded race around the globe, the inevitable catches up with our fair actors, and once that happens, it's a quick slide from mediocre fun-having into schlocky tear-wrangling of the worst kind, as though the filmmakers were trying to cram the worst of Hollywood into one picture. If so, they've succeeded.

Find the writer immediately.



The Bucket List

Facts and Figures

Run time: 97 mins

In Theaters: Friday 11th January 2008

Box Office USA: $93.5M

Box Office Worldwide: $175.4M

Budget: $45M

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production compaines: Warner Bros. Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 40%
Fresh: 68 Rotten: 100

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Neil Meron, ,

Starring: as Edward Cole, as Carter Chambers, as Thomas, as Virginia Chambers, as Dr. Hollins, Alfonso Freeman as Roger Chambers, Rowena King as Angelica, Annton Berry Jr. as Kai, Verda Bridges as Chandra, Destiny Brownridge as Maya, Brian Copeland as Lee, Ian Anthony Dale as Instructor, Jennifer Defrancisco as Emily, Angela Gardner as Female Administrator, as Mechanic

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.