It’s time to rejoice the darkly comic The Bucket List is a gift for moviegoers.
Crusty, cranky corporate billionaire Edward Cole (Jack Nicholson) and knowledgeable garage mechanic Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman) become unlikely friends as they share a hospital room. Terminally ill with cancer yet feeling fine, they both realize they have unfinished business.
In an exercise in forward thinking, they make a list of everything they want to do before they kick the bucket and embark on the most unlikely road trip you can imagine: skydiving, race car driving and laughing till they cry. While they relish their high-flying adventures – exploring Egypts pyramids, a safari in Tanzania, the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China – they also learn more about themselves and what really matters on this often-confusing journey of life.
Charming Jack Nicholsons sly, twisted nature has an irresistible appeal. As an actor, he is totally liberated, creating one of the most memorable characters this year, while Morgan Freeman is extraordinary, completely believable, delivering a quietly composed and curiously touching performance. Together, they get away with outrageous gallows humor and black comedy that would sink more timid thespians. Their tandem performances are near to perfection.
Evoking memories of The Odd Couple and Grumpy Old Men, screenwriter Justin Zackhams dialogue is deft, intelligent and laced with an outrageous sense of humor, while veteran director Rob Reiner understands the frailty and absurdity of the human condition. While there are editing and continuity glitches, particularly the CGI superimposing the actors faces during the stunt work, they barely detract from the characters emotional wallop.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, The Bucket List is a 9 – a heartfelt, wickedly funny, one-of-a-kind holiday treat.