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Overall Rating
2.71

Awesome: 17.86%
Worth A Look: 17.86%
Average: 16.07%
Pretty Bad: 14.29%
Total Crap33.93%

5 reviews, 26 user ratings


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Bucket List, The
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by Lybarger

"‘The Thunder Bucket List’ is more like it."
1 stars

Enduring ‘The Bucket List’ is like hearing a choir of first-round rejects from ‘American Idol’ performing all of Handel’s Messiah Chorus. Every note is sung just a little bit off, making the other flaws like mangled lyrics and botched rhythm sound even more heinous. Curiously, the film, unlike the make-believe concert, is actually made by people who should know better and who in the past would have had the taste and the judgment to abandon such a travesty at the development stage.

Jack Nicholson coasts his way through the picture as Edward Cole, a corporate hospital kingpin who thinks that the facilities under his care are coddling patients too much. Predictably, Cole winds up being a patient at one of his own hospitals, forced to experience the care that most of his patients get. He can be consoled by the fact that one of his flunkies (Sean Hayes) can still sneak into his room and give him perks.

His roommate is Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman), a walking CD-ROM of quiz show information who makes his living as a mechanic. Justin Zachman’s script fails to explain how Carter’s insurance enables him to afford the same treatment as Edward or how Carter manages to live in a home that most mechanics can’t afford. Perhaps Carter specializes in fixing Ferraris and Bentleys or successfully answered the question “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”.

Of course, the doctor (Rob Morrow) has informed them that both have inoperable cancer. We get to see both of them toss their cookies for a little bit and then shave their heads for treatment but other than that, the two are eager to experience the best of what life still has to offer.

They make a “bucket list” or jot down a number of activities they’d like to complete before they both kick the bucket. Most of these include visiting exotic sites or performing daredevil stunts.

Much of this is quite dull. Director Rob Reiner (who once made worthwhile films like “Misery” and “The Sure Thing”) handles this portion of the film in a remarkably pedestrian way. You can spot every shortcut he’s taken.

When the dying duo head out for an African safari, you get the sense that Nicholson and Freeman weren’t sent to the Serengeti to film the scene. The two are only seen in close-ups. It’s the same when they visit the pyramids and the Taj Mahal.

When Carter gazes out the window of Edward’s plane, Freeman’s face indicates a sense of wonder, but the matte shot looks rather flat and uninspiring. It would be nice if we could experience the marvels with the characters, but thanks to Reiner’s clumsy handling we can’t.

Not only does Reiner lack the technical chops to make this work, but he’s apparently forgotten how to use his actors to maximum effect. Whenever one of Zachman’s characters feels the need to blurt out an Oscar-bait soliloquy, Reiner’s camera reverently pans over to the actor to make sure we don’t miss a single syllable.

If the author of these quotes had been William Shakespeare or even David Mamet, this might have been appropriate. Instead, it seems to emphasize how vapid the material really is.

Actually, it’s pretty typical for Reiner’s more recent movies. When the successful screenwriting duo in “The Story of Us” had issues, they flew to Venice to drown their blues in the canals. If only the rest of us had the cash for that sort of solution. It’s hard to feel sorry for people who have these material advantages and still can’t get their acts together.

“The Bucket List” arrives on the screen when several more honest and entertaining films are already in theaters. “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” makes reading the subtitles worth it because director Juilan Schnabel and screenwriter Ronald Harwood actually have something valuable to say.

As for Freeman, his golden throated voiceover was better used in “The Shawshank Redemption,” “March of the Penguins” and “Million Dollar Baby.” Rent any of these and drop “The Bucket List” in your nearest recycling bin.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=16827&reviewer=382
originally posted: 12/26/07 04:57:36
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User Comments

11/10/11 brian Cliched but well acted and has some nice moments. 4 stars
3/21/11 holly sines i loved this movie...what i expected from Nicholson and Freeman 5 stars
6/01/10 User Name Yes, it's smaltzy and predictable, but the two leads are so enjoyable, you don't notice. 3 stars
4/20/10 PAUL SHORTT WELL ACTED BUT CONTRIVED 2 stars
5/21/09 michelle a heartfelt movie, america needs more like this!! 5 stars
3/22/09 mr.mike Take 2 old pros , a decent script and stir. 4 stars
11/12/08 Michael M While it's a cliche story, Reiner succeeds in making it believable, which makes it powerful 5 stars
9/16/08 janie thats what friendship is all about... 5 stars
8/06/08 L. Slusarczyk A sweet and enjoyable movie but not sure if its one worth buying 4 stars
6/15/08 Melissa This movie was awesome. Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman were phenomenal. Would recommend 5 stars
6/12/08 Jayson I'm not cynical so I liked it. 3 stars
4/14/08 Scott H the story was funny and easy to follow 4 stars
4/12/08 Lambutts Took almost as long to read the review as it did to watch the movie. The movie was better. 5 stars
3/26/08 sarita at last west is thinking on the ideology of india 5 stars
2/22/08 leo the film s crap if u didnt understood d deeper meaning, 8 s really good & has gr8 lessons.. 4 stars
2/17/08 lolcat i had 5 stars for this movie - but i ated them 2 stars
2/11/08 John Geddie Jack Nicholson & Morgan Freeman are a great pair. Very entertaining. 4 stars
1/27/08 Bob H. Being a cancer vitem myself probably played a large role in my opinion of this film . My wi 5 stars
1/19/08 R.W.Welch A little schmaltzy maybe, but these two guys can carry off anything. C+ 3 stars
1/15/08 Gayle I thoughtt this movie was GREAT & Funny!! 4 stars
1/14/08 Linda A feel good tearjerker movie...one of Jacks best! 5 stars
1/14/08 Daniel Kamen Nicholson is at his best. The negative reviews are from no talent, frustrated critics. 5 stars
1/14/08 John Truly crap! But my wife loved it! 1 stars
1/13/08 josh i loved it,not as funny as i thought it would be.still verry good 4 stars
1/13/08 sandy Loved this movie! I work in a hospital and with hospice. It's FICTION after all. 4 stars
1/04/08 ES Enjoyable, it's not winning Oscars but it had some funny and nice moments 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  25-Dec-2007 (PG-13)
  DVD: 10-Jun-2008

UK
  N/A

Australia
  N/A


Directed by
  Rob Reiner

Written by
  Justin Zackham

Cast
  Jack Nicholson
  Morgan Freeman
  Sean Hayes
  Beverly Todd
  Rob Morrow



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