The Bucket List is deemed a comedy although in the early portion of the movie that casts Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman as two terminally ill cancer patients, the first 10 minutes or so aren't anything to laugh about.
This Rob Reiner film depicts the lives of two very different men, one Edward Cole (Jack Nicholson) is a multi-billionaire who heads up a huge conglomerate of Health treatment centers where every room has two beds, two patients to a room... "no exception" and the other Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman) is an average, down to earth highly intelligent auto mechanic who has worked tirelessly his entirely life to ensure that his family was well cared for.
When both men find themselves together in the same hospital room at one of Jack Nicholson's facilities, and both suffering from brain tumors, the atmosphere that ensues between them is relatively tense at first. Both are fighting their illness the best way they can, Morgan Freeman dealing with faith and surrounded by family, Jack Nicholson dealing with barking orders and only a personal aid named Thomas (Shean Hayes of Will and Grace fame) to call a friend.
After the initial difficulty of getting past the effects that chemo wreaks on Jack Nicholson in the early stages of his treatment, the two men find themselves leaning on one another as a friendship begins to form. Freeman who is depicted as a highly intelligent and knowledgeable individual secretly begins to pen a list called a "Bucket List" which outlines a number of things he feels he would like to experience before he dies. Nicholson attempts to discover what it is Freeman is writing down but isn't able to learn much about the list until a Doctor that has been treating Nicholson is told to find out what is going on where Freeman's health is concerned. The news that Freeman receives results in his giving up the idea of a list simply because he doesn't believe he has the time left that would be necessary to fulfill it.
The list ends up in a ball and Nicholson finds it on the floor and of course reads it. Immediately, from the glint in his eye, you can tell that Jack Nicholson is prepared to ensure that list becomes reality for Freeman and for himself. From there the adventure takes the two men from the cancer ward of the hospital on to a road trip around the world. As each man adds their own desires to the list the list begins to grow and eventually it takes them to far reaching corners of the globe in search of the ultimate experiences in life before succumbing to the grip of death. Meanwhile Freeman's wife waits with worry for her husband to come to his senses and return home to continue fighting his illness and she has little kindness to spend towards Nicholson whom she sees as stealing her husband away to follow some ridiculous 'dream'.
The story line is well done, the acting is quite good and the convincing level of emotion, turmoil and will power to achieve every last ounce of fun packed into a few short months is evident. One of the more light hearted moments is when Jack Nicholson who is a coffee-holic and who must always have available a particular brand of coffee beans, learns from Morgan Freeman just where those beans come from and how they were discovered. The beans are one of the most expensive beans available yet how they came to be that way might possibly have you gagging ;).
There isn't much in the way of surprise involved in this movie however, unless of course you consider the way in which it begins and who it is that passes first. In the end it is apparent that these two very different men with very different personalities forged a friendship that was profound and long lasting.
It wasn't quite the movie that I would have chosen to watch this past weekend, but it was well done and except for the first part of it that I didn't find very enjoyable, I'm glad that I was able to see it. There were some laughs although I didn't find it uproarously funny. It was one of the movies that was actually on 'My Bucket List' :)
I'd not recommend this movie as family entertainment however as the subject matter is sensitive and there is some language and a few unsettling scenes, especially if you are 'stomach sensitive' at all.