The Bucket List (2007)
Don't Kick the Bucket
Here's something to remember when you're older Thomas - never pass up a bathroom, never waste a hard-on, and never trust a fart - Edward Cole
Starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman "The Bucket List" has a major problem and it's not so much the movie, the storyline or the acting, it is the way it was promoted. I remember watching the "The Bucket List" trailer and thinking it was basically a laugh out loud comedy which capitalized on the appeal of its stars Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. But whilst it is a funny movie and will make you laugh a good few times it is also a surprisingly touching tale about two men facing the prospect of death and what they plan to do to make the most of their last days.
When corporate billionaire Edward Cole () and working class car mechanic Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman - Evan Almighty) find themselves sharing the same hospital room, they appear to have very little in common. But as they both approach a crossroads in their lives they discover that despite their external differences they both have the same desire to experience life to the full before it comes to an end. Jointly they write a 'bucket list' of things to do before they kick the bucket and embark on an adventure of a lifetime.
Okay so I said that the storyline is not the problem and whilst I stand by that I have to say that for a movie which focuses on two men who have been diagnosed with terminal cancer "The Bucket List" doesn't pay much attention to reality. One minute they are in hospital, suffering the pain of chemotherapy and being told that they have only a few months to live then the next they are off gallivanting around the world experiencing the best of life. At times the script tries to demonstrate the pain that they go through, with scenes referencing vomiting but it all seems a bit blasé, passed over very quickly in an attempt to get to the fun part of the movie where they two men experience life. But then making "The Bucket List" more realistic would in my opinion have turned it into a much darker, serious movie and that's not what it's about.
For me the real story of "The Bucket List" is of redemption, understanding and making a difference with your life, it's in some ways an inspirational tale. This is where it works best and whilst other movies have tackled this subject with greater success, "The Bucket List" does a good enough job to make you take a look at your own life and in some ways think about what you would put on your own Bucket List. Of course it is going to deliver a predictable outcome, the selfish, rich, egotist discovers what the meaning of life is thanks to the humble and wise car mechanic but we don't care as we are more interested in how we get there and the bonding between the two characters than the actual outcome.
Whilst I would never have paired up Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman in the same movie, it works perfectly well. Freeman again is typecast as the wise old man, the one who has learnt from the University of Life and again we get the pleasure of Freeman's silky tones in numerous voice overs a la "The Shawshank Redemption". Whilst Nicholson gets to over play his role making the character of Edward Cole a slightly over the top creation, but it works, it shows the differences between the two central figures. But the best thing is the camaraderie between the two, the pairing works extremely well and you get a sense that a bond has grown between the two of them, a real caring for each other.
What this all boils down to is that if you take "The Bucket List" too seriously, expecting a more dramatic, reality filled look at the life of two men dying from cancer then you are going to be disappointed and feel cheated. Likewise if you expect to watch it being entertained through a lot of humour then again you will most likely be disappointed. It's in that in between area where it mixes drama with a little humour and a scattering of sentiment. It is by no means a great movie, but one which will entertain if you watch not expecting too much.
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