When I mentioned to a co-worker that I was looking forward to The Bucket List, he sighed in disgust. "Why are they putting Nicholson and Freeman through that? They deserve better," he muttered. Such disparaging remarks seemed a typical reception to this film, so I avoided all commercials, trailers and reviews. I feared I'd be similarly infected, and that the interest and enthusiasm the cast and concept alone piqued in me would be dashed.
I'm glad I dismissed the naysayers, as The Bucket List was a fun film. Morgan Freeman plays a father and husband who finds himself in the hospital with cancer at at the same time that Jack Nicholson — a rich, single, lonely tycoon — is similarly afflicted. One whimsically drafts a list of things to do before he dies, from the profound (see something majestic) to the frivlous (race a Shelby). Nicholson suggests they go out with a bang by making the list a reality and offers the funds with which to do so. Freeman's family is upset — they want to be with him until the bitter end — but it's too late, and a moment later the dynamic duo is jetting off to foreign countries.
Their activities aren't the stuff of legend, but among the more boyish antics is dialogue that's both amusing and pithy. There is little about this film that's original, but how can these two actors not make a good time of even the tired routine of two diverse individuals hitting the road and discovering themselves? I've never heard of a spell between chemotherapy and cancellation that embues patients with the strength to scale mountains; in that sense, the film defies reality right along with the characters. But compared to the weight and substance of other morbid films like Wit, this lighthearted comedy touches on the reality of the situation just often enough to keep viewers engaged while Freeman and Nicholson live our own boyish dreams of going out not with a whimper, but a bang.
1 thought on “Old Dogs, Old Tricks”
This film came out on DVD on June 10th.
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