Sunday, February 10, 2008

Movie Review: The Bucket List

Last Friday, we decided to kick off the weekend by catching Rob Reiner's The Bucket List, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.

The story revolves around two people from either side of the social spectrum (rich, corporate mogul Nicholson, opposite working class mechanic Freeman), who find their lives on the clock due to cancer. They strike up an unlikely friendship, and agree to together venture forth and complete a list of things to do before they "kick the bucket." Hence, the so-called Bucket List, which the movie got its name from.

Reiner gets the film off to a great start by using an ace up his casting sleeve: using Freeman's distinctive and mellifluous baritone voice to narrate the first few lines of the movie.

After a rather forced set-up wherein filthy rich but friendless Nicholson shares a room with middle-class trivia-genius family man Freeman, and both become rather unwilling friends. They are informed of their pending doom due their respective cancer situations and they both go off in the great unknown the live the wild life before death finally catches up with them.

Okay, some parts of the movie were admittedly cringe-worthy, such as the mock taunts they exchanged on the race track. But Nicholson and Freeman have such charm between them, that the viewer is just glad to see them both looking like they're having fun, which they look like they are. Of course, Freeman has always played subtle, wise, old characters who never seem to lose their cool, while Nicholson has always played over the top larger, than life characters who steal every scene they're in. So essentially, these guys just got on board to celebrate their own typecasts, which were thrown into a new fictional situation.

The chemistry between the leads is palpable, and the contrasting characters play off one another nicely. Even Freeman's cool baritone sounds off great opposite Nicholson's devious sneering drawls.

An underrated player in all this is Sean Hayes, as Nicholson's witty and tolerant assistant, who sufficiently spices up his scenes without interfering with the leads.

The script isn't perfect, the plot has the mass integrity of Swiss cheese, but two names practically guarantee a watchable (albeit in this case, forgettable) and entertaining movie: Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.

Definitely not a great movie, but it isn't so bad. And considering the body of work between these two guys, they're excused from making an effortless piece of fluff from time to time.

Recommended for fans.

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