By Fred Topel | Image property of Warner Bros Pictures.
The Bucket List
It's Grumpy Old Cancer Victims. The Bucket List is not a terrible movie, but it is perfectly happy to be absolutely average. If you've got two of America's most lovable and acclaimed actors playing dying men, it should be pretty easy to make them sympathetic, so this movie doesn't even try that hard.
Review: The Bucket List
It opens with another Morgan Freeman narration. He sure is the wise old philosopher. Don't worry, they give up that device quickly and never really explain the context of it. There's other voiceover that is explained as letter reading but it doesn't matter, that's not really the problem, just a funny redundancy.
It's like they wrote speeches just so they could give Freeman and Jack Nicholson some dramatic stuff to say. Since we don't know these guys before their diagnoses, they could have any kind of background. Ergo, make up any dramatic sh*t you want! I can't think of any creative reason why that's bad, but it just made me mad that they'd start announcing stuff out of nowhere. It's not really moving.
The humor is all mild and palatable. Surely any morbid situation has lots of dark humor to be mined, but this movie doesn't go there. There's no bite to this, it's just light enough to make sure nobody is offended or gets their feelings hurt.
Nicholson sure acts the sick part, jittery, wobbly, frail in his chemotherapy. That's some A-list deathbed acting right there. If there's any demand to watch Jack Nicholson go through chemo, this movie will make a fortune.
They don't even do anything outrageous on their bucket list. It's a travelogue, but not an emotional journey. They do the typical carefree stunts, and the editing is good to cut between close ups and stuntmen with ADR.
They do address the issue of one character leaving his family to go on this journey. That's real.
I don't really mind The Bucket List. It's a good message about living life to the fullest, which is important in an age where we preserve carcasses for selfish reasons. I just can't buy into the drama or hopeful positivity because I see all the way through it.