Did we really need another movie narrated by Morgan Freeman? I got sick of it about ten films ago. I can't even watch The Shawshank Redemption anymore, one of my favorite films, because I'm so tired of hearing Morgan's sweet voice explaining the meaning of it all. It's one of the thousands of lazy choices made in the making of The Bucket List.
It was a good idea to put Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson together in a film. They're two of the finest actors around, and they should have been great bouncing dialogue off of each other. Unfortunately they're both in paycheck mode, coasting through on their long established charms, not offering anything new or challenging. Their characters are supposed to be dying, but both look as healthy as a horse, fatter than ever really. Jack shaves his head, but he's so bald already, what does it matter?
I'm not going to bother with their character names here, because they didn't bother getting into character. - Jack's a rich, powerful womanizer of a man (what a stretch for him), who's found out he's dying of cancer. Morgan's a good man, a good husband, who always played everything straight (Also what a stretch!), who too has learned he's dying of cancer. And because the predictable script says so, they're put in a room together in the hospital that Jack owns. At first there's some cutesy "man" bickering. Then they become great friends, because neither has really ever had a great friend.
Morgan mentions this Bucket List idea, of doing all the things you wanted to do before you die, and Jack being extremely rich, funds them to go on a bunch of adventures together. We're supposed to find it highly hilarious, the sight of these two old guys jumping out of planes and driving cars really fast. Except that all the gags are so horribly executed that nothing drags out more than a slight chuckle.
There's this scene where Jack and Morgan are sitting on top of an Egyptian pyramid during sunset, of course, pouring their guts out, begging the audience to cry, but they're so obviously sitting in a studio, with an extremely fake backdrop of the pyramids behind them, probably thinking about taking a nap in their trailers; that you can't even begin to take it seriously. It would have been a thousand times more powerful, if they'd actually shot at the pyramids. And everywhere they go it looks like this. It could have been a great travelogue of a film, if they could have bothered to leave L.A., while also making their performances more believable.
This could have been a good film. It's a nice idea, two guys sharing their last few months alive together, doing all the things that they want to do. It could have been funny and bittersweet. I'm sure they were all thinking Oscar gold when they went into this, but everything about this film is so damn lazy. These legends; Jack, Morgan and director Rob Reiner are riding along in cruise control, hoping their combined greatness would give us something special, but ending up with poorly executed schlock instead. - Grade: D