Going into The Bucket List I was anticipating a film that would be a by-the-numbers cutesy story about a couple of old farts living out the final days of their lives in such a cliche manner that even I could write the script. This was not a problem for me. There are plenty of good films that fit that exact mold and sometimes that is just what you need. At 97 minutes I thought The Bucket List would be the perfect way to spend that short time, and as it turns out it isn’t half bad, but there are some moments when you wish they would just kick that damned bucket.
Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman star as a pair of old fogies that are given anywhere from 6 months to a year to live. Jack’s character, Edward, owns the hospital they are staying in and is a rich and bitter man with four ex-wives and an estranged daughter. Freeman’s character, Carter, on the other hand is a working class fella who has a family complete with a loving wife. These two guys couldn’t be any farther apart, but when the light at the end of the tunnel starts getting closer so do the two old men.
When Carter begins to write up something he refers to as a “Bucket List”, basically a list of things you want to do before you die, he does it as a look back on his life and some of the things he never quite achieved. What he never expected was for Edward to take it to heart and set out to blow some cash and whisk the two around the world. That’s what happens, and that’s your story.
The problem with The Bucket List is in its structure, the story is fine, it’s piece meal, but it’s fine. Where audiences are going to be shifting in their seats is during all the trips here and there, that ultimately never serve the storyline and are ultimately there just to show you that these two guys went a lot of places. On top of that, this is a film that seems like the last film you would need a lot of blue screen work on, but wow, it certain stands out whether Carter and Edward are driving muscle cars on the speedway or sitting on top of a pyramid. It is shocking how much it takes you out of the story.
Fortunately, this story wraps itself up quite nicely, even though as the film progresses you should have the ending figured out for the most part, but the emotion at the end of the film is undeniable and you’d have to have a rather hard heart not to feel at least a little something.
The Bucket List is an easy getaway film that doesn’t deserve some of the accolades it has received, because it isn’t that good, but I can’t imagine any one being too upset after watching it.