Local opening date: January 11, 2008
Reviewed by Diane Carson
The unwelcome medical diagnosis of
cancer with the prognosis of a year to live provides the catalyst for Edward
Cole and Carter Chambers to embark on a mission. They make a list of the things
they want to do before they kick the bucket, that is, as the title states it, The Bucket List. As the two men in
question, Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman cavort playfully, each true to his
own legendary film persona-Nicholson feisty and naughty, Freeman wise and
thoughtful. The truths they discover about themselves and life could, and
probably have, been summarized in fortune cookies.
The good news is that the film isn't nearly as
silly and superficial as the trailer makes it look. The bad news is that it
certainly could have reached for much greater profundity knowing that these two
could expertly burrow into the depths of spiritual and physical insights. I
wanted a "Tuesdays with Morrie" more than a travelogue for the moronic since
Edward and Carter tick off the usual suspects: the Taj Mahal, Egypt's
Pyramids, The Great Wall of China, etc. The
Bucket List feels like a combination of the Travel and Lifetime cable
channels. More offensively, Carter's wife, who's a nurse, objects to the duo's
plans and is summarily put in her place when, quite understandably, she'd
express great concern for Carter. Similarly, Cole repeatedly insults his
assistant Thomas in ways that made me uncomfortable.
All of that factored in, there is
still more than a spark of humor and fun for the audience watching these
accomplished actors go through their paces. And they touch us in the moments
when they express honest emotions and regrets, especially Cole's estrangement
from his daughter. Of course, Cole and Chambers must discover the true value of
life, something that always comes easier to film characters when, like Cole,
they have mountains of money, so indulgence is no object. The benefit of the roughly
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