"Knight Thoughts" - exclusive web content
Nicholson and Freeman shine in a predictable but satisfying comedy-drama, Sean Hayes offers droll support
The Bucket List
1-11-08 "Knight Thoughts" web exclusive review
By Richard Knight, Jr.
Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman play an odd couple in The Bucket List, a dramedy that relies so heavily on the personalities
of its two stars and dozens of previous examples of movies of the same type that it has not a moment of originality to call its own.
But that is not to say - very quickly in this winter of increasingly weighty awards season contenders - that a little tear jerking and
mugging aren't exactly what the audience is craving. For all its sham and plasticity, The Bucket List is a shamelessly entertaining
little picture. A guilty pleasure of the Wild Hogs, Space Cowboys ilk.
The set up is thus: crazy rich but cranky Nicholson is dying of cancer. Ditto Freeman as a nice guy who has always done right by his
wife and children but has never acted on his real desires. Through circumstances that only seem to happen in movies, the two end
up sharing a hospital room together while they are battling the cancer that's eventually going to take each of them. Nicholson
discovers a discarded list that Freeman has been making - a compendium of all the things he'd like to do and all the places he'd
like to see before he "kicks the bucket." Big bucks Nicholson, who is estranged from his daughter and has no other family, pays to
make the wish list a reality. Naturally, these two fast friends will come to blows at some point, lessons will be learned, hearts
broken, mended, etc., etc. And the audience will get to alternately laugh and tear up watching these two great hams dash around
the globe (the producers must have asked their stars, "Now what location would you like us to build into the script next?").
Sean Hayes from "Will & Grace" is on hand as Nicholson's efficient major domo and Beverly Todd plays Freeman's wife who is
suspicious (who wouldn't be?) of the precious remaining moments she feels Nicholson is stealing from her but its basically Nicholson
and Freeman's show. This is the most shameless of buddy pictures and anyone without a whit of sentimentality is warned to stay
away. You will hate this latest nostalgia fest from director Rob Reiner. But for those who want to Believe, those who want to be
cuddled by the fake laughter through tears emotions that only an expertly made piece of Hollywood toffee like this can provide - if
only for the moment - get out your hankies and head to your local sixplex.