In a romp for two old pros, Jack Nicholson plays Edward Cole, a cranky, egotistic Scrooge of a tycoon who owns several hospitals. His busy life is brought to a screeching halt when he has a heart attack and finds himself a patient in one of his own hospitals. Thanks to Cole's no-frills policy, he finds himself sharing a room with Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman), a wizened retired janitor with the soul of a scholar. Carter's problem is more serious. He has cancer and the doctors have told him he hasn't got much time left. The two are seemingly incompatible, but their close confinement leads to card games and swapping life stories. In looking back on his life which he has devoted to supporting his wife and children, Carter realizes that there are many things he wished he had done. So he starts to make a list of things to do before he dies, a.k.a. "kick the bucket" and hence "The Bucket List". Carter's thoughtful writing catches the attention of his roommate Edward, and they start to work on the list together. Cole's heart attack was a wake-up call for him as well. His thoughts are certainly more in terms of regrets, where Carter's just thinking about things he had to put off or do without. Since Cole only has a string of ex-wives and an estranged daughter, he invites Carter to go with him to do everything on their list. Which they do. They travel around the world, from Paris to the Himalayas, until Carter's health forces an end to things.
I would say that the ending was predictable, but a single glance at the title and the names of the leading actors and anyone above age 12 could write an outline for this movie. It hardly matters. It's the performances that shine here. Both Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman play to type, and both men are simply too marvelous to watch to worry about the plot. It's a movie made for the pure entertainment, and on that level it succeeds mightily. They take you on an adventure of a lifetime and make you think about your own life.
Rainbo Electronic Reviews published this review in our June, 2008 issue.
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