You could put Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman in any movie and come out with something successful. Pop them into a sugary sweet, semi-buddy movie directed by Rob Reiner, and you don’t even have to ask if it’s great. The Bucket List may not be an instant classic, but this is a harmless way to kill 90 minutes.
Freeman and Nicholson are both dying cancer patients, destined to complete a list of things to do before their time is up. These are two wonderful characters, even in the case of Nicholson who is supposed to be a miserable, impossible-to-please hospital owner. The script delves into their lives though dialogue naturally, and doesn’t feel forced.
Bucket List doesn’t take any cheap routes to its comedy. All laughs are delivered for the sake of character development. There are also grim reminders of the medical conditions plaguing them both, but never too graphic or off-putting. There are moments of blandness, without much in the way of laughs, but then again, this isn’t a straight comedy either.
A few events, including Freeman completely avoiding telling his wife where he’ll be going when he learns of his fate, seem illogical. Also, the visual effects are incredibly low rent to the point of distracting. It’s a not a film you’d expect to complain about effects in, but one look at the Taj Mahal scene is enough to make you wince.
Bucket List is pleasing and acceptable. It’s not the movie some may think it is (it’s not the Odd Couple with cancer patients), although its light-hearted charm will reel you in regardless. Nicholson and Freeman are too enthralling to ignore.
Much like the performances, this Blu-ray transfer is hard to look away from. Detail is astonishing, and the sharpness is unparalleled. Colors are bright without being oversaturated. Black levels are incredible to create wonderful depth to the image. Flesh tones are accurate and there is no evidence of artificial enhancement.
The audio, standard Dolby Digital, is lackluster. There are only a few instances of surround use, and bass is non-existent. The skydiving scene is a missed opportunity for some atmosphere. Dialogue is crisp throughout and audible.
A smattering of features are included, some not on the standard DVD. Writing the Bucket List is self-explanatory at five minutes. Rob Reiner Interviews the Stars is split into two sections (one for each actor), and runs for 40 minutes. A trivia track runs during the film if you wish, and a music video (along with a making of for the music video) finish off the dry extras.