COMIC DRAMA; 1hr 37min
STARRING: Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman
Hot shot: from left, Nicholson and Freeman
Just the sound of Morgan Freeman’s soothing, easy-over vocals should be enough to reassure anyone: as mechanic Carter Chambers in the bracing odyssey The Bucket List, the man is as mellow as warm milk. Carter is ageing, ailing and hospitalised. His roomie is the guy who owns the place — tycoon Edward Cole (Nicholson, in raffish Jack form), his body devoured by cancer while his voracious spirit refuses to say die.
The two opposites grow close through adversity, eventually collaborating on Carter’s to-do-before-death list. Carter is inclined to altruistic acts; instead, under Edward’s influence, they go sky-diving, race Mustangs and hop a private jet to the South of France, racing the ever-present imperative of their mortality.
Nicholson and Freeman are so in lock-step with their gently handled, Rob Reiner–directed story that while its ending is its purpose, you will wish you could avert it. Carter and Edward’s capacity for openness and joy reverberates with a defiant good cheer that thumbs its nose at monumental odds. Bucket, schmucket !