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Monday, 29 November 1999 18:00
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 1

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