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The Bucket List movie poster

The Bucket List: Movie Review

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama
Rated: PG-13
Directed by: Rob Reiner
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman,
Sean Hayes, Beverly Todd, Rob Morrow
Released by: Warner Bros.

Running time: 97 minutes
Year: 2007

In Short: Two unlikely friends face up to death with a trip of a lifetime in this laugh-filled look at living every day like it might be the last.

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Smiling in the Face of Death

Put two of the world's favorite aging actors together, add in a top-notch script filled with terrific dialogue and funny moments, and finish off with the well-paced direction of another Hollywood veteran, and you've got “The Bucket List,” one of 2007's last theatrical releases, and one of the year's best.

With this comical look at facing down death and embracing life, director Rob Reiner returns to the fine form of his past triumphs (think "The Princess Bride" and "When Harry Met Sally"), crafting a winning blend of humor and pathos. Jack Nicholson stars as Edward Cole, a self-made billionaire whose holdings include a chain of hospitals. When he finds himself stricken with cancer, he ends up in one of his own facilities, and therein lies the problem. After years of insisting that there be no private rooms in his hospitals, he's stuck with a roommate named Carter Chambers, a car mechanic and family man, played perfectly by Morgan Freeman.

Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman in The Bucket List Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman in The Bucket List

As the two men suffer the indignities of cancer surgery and subsequent chemotherapy side by side in their hospital beds, they begin to form an unlikely friendship that is jumpstarted when both men are told that their treatments have not been successful.

And that's when "The Bucket List" really soars (although it is surprisingly funny in the midst of the hospital scenes, too). Edward and Carter decide to ditch everything and do the things they have always wanted to do before they kick the bucket. So it's off on a series of adventures for the pair, leaving Carter's concerned family behind, and bringing along Edward's trusty assistant (Sean Hayes, whose subtly-played character has some of the best one-liners of the film), who is the only person in the billionaire's life.

"The Bucket List" shines as a multilayered story, moving effortlessly from a raucous buddy comedy to a serious (but never dreary) look at facing death, and at the choices that we make leading up to that final moment. With strong, likeable performances from Nicholson and Freeman and a great script, it's a film that appeals to both funnybone and heart, and a wonderful way to end the year with a smile.

Reviewed by Jenny Peters



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