Viewed – 24 May 2011 DVD
If asked to name two of the most dependable actors currently working, then you’d find it difficult to beat seasoned veterans Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. With a career spanning several decades and with some of the most acclaimed movies ever made under their belt, they signify just what makes movies a worthwhile interest. For me Nicholson has always been a favourite even if I haven’t seen him in anything for years, and Freeman, well, where can you go wrong? Not with this little known gem, you can’t.
Nicholson is a corporate big-wig diagnosed with cancer who meets working class mechanic Freeman in hospital also diagnosed with the disease, with both of them given a limited life expectancy. This at first downbeat and serious start soon turns into something very different when Freeman comes up with the idea of The Bucket List – things you would like to do before you kick the bucket. Billionaire Nicholson takes this literally though and soon persuades Freeman to go on a trip with him to live out whatever time they have left, to the fullest.
As a new take on the Walter Mathieu / Jack Lemon odd-couple comedies, this is full of memorable moments and quality turns from its leads, with the mismatched men both lending different personalities to their adventure. Nicholson as expected is all go-getter and brash and gets most of the best lines (don’t trust a fart!), but Freeman’s wisdom stops the movie turning into farce, and beneath the hi-jinks beats a very emotional and heart-warming heart. Directed by Rob Reiner this perhaps lack a little ambition and the bucket list globe-trotting adventures feel cheaply realised … but thankfully with the focus of the movie being the two friends, every minute in their company is a minute well spent.
Verdict: 4 /5