It’s on my list

You are guaranteed to come out of The Bucket List wanting to go back and view every Jack Nicholson film ever made, says David Light

By David Light

Published: Sun 30 Mar 2008, 10:40 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:33 PM

Movie Review

The Bucket List

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman

Director: Rob Reiner

NEW RELEASE The Bucket List hit cinemas this weekend. When theatre owners saw this one coming they must have been rubbing their hands with glee. A comedy drama about terminal illness with a stellar cast surely cannot lose. Women want to see it and men don’t mind accompanying them. It’s a win win situation. So why was the cinema only half full when I went? Why was it packed to the rafters when 10 000 BC (don’t get me started) was playing? Why have critics panned a film starring two of the finest actors to have graced the silver screen? To be honest I can go a little way to answering these questions. I’ll jump right in and admit the script is a little flat. The basic concept is predictable and the “buddy comedy” movie genre is a tad saccharine and dated. When a movie starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman doesn’t draw in a full house, something isn’t right. Yet one has to ask oneself, what do I want from a film?

If you want intellectual stimulation watch A Man for All Seasons, if you want tragedy and suspense watch The Pianist but if like me you don’t mind going to the cinema, paying your 30 dirhams and just wish to be entertained you’ll enjoy this film.

The Bucket List tells the story of Carter Chambers (Freeman) and billionaire Edward Cole (Nicholson) who, early on in the film, are both diagnosed with cancer. Whilst sharing the same hospital room trying to overcome the disease, they become close friends as people sharing that horrific sort of experience would. Carter, who had spent some time at college in his youth, for something to do returns to a sociology experiment he conducted many years ago and compiles a list of all the things he wishes to do before he dies or “kicks the bucket.”

As each character is dealt the terrible news that their diseases are terminal they, with some goading from Edward and the guarantee of all his money to fulfil their dreams, embark on living life to the full by completing the “Bucket List.” Their adventures take them from Nice to Nepal and everywhere in between with hilarious and poignant consequences.

The performances in this film are spectacular. You are guaranteed to come out of The Bucket List wanting to go back and view every Jack Nicholson film ever made. Freeman is of course as good as ever but Nicholson really steals the show. The wicked glint in his eye and his razor-sharp wit makes Edward Cole almost mesmerising. He can make even the corniest of lines laugh out loud funny. Sean Hayes of Will and Grace fame is also a note worthy addition to the movie as Edwards long suffering assistant. The film is thankfully not as predictable as you might think, with there being a welcome twist at the end (no I won’t give it away here.). Relationships are convincing and highlight issues that a lot of comedy films shy away from but touch many people today. Carter’s complex marriage provides a refreshing interlude to the laughter and gives another dimension to the characters as does Edward’s relationship with his daughter. The location choices and featured adventures are inspired choices and provide the audience with the escapism they paid for.

Unlike everywhere else in the world going to the cinema in this country is still reasonably priced so you can afford to take a chance on this film. Personally I had a wonderful time and I demand a lot from movies I watch. Even if this genre isn’t your cup of tea I guarantee you will laugh and you will be entertained, so what more can you ask for? The Bucket List should really be on your agendas this week.

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