Jack Nicholson's Edward Cole and Morgan Freeman's Carter Chambers find themselves sharing a room in the hospital that Cole owns and insists there must be two people in a room. So he ends up with Chambers who has an up-beat personality in contrast to Cole's look at the dark side of life. Released at about the same time as The Savages it has a smart, clever script that battles the end of life in an uplifting manner in comparison to The Savages which brings us a sterling performance by Laura Linney but dwells on the dark side both for the person who is ill and the survivors.
The Bucket List is an invention of Carter: "things to do before we kick the bucket." They work through the initial friction and begin to struggle past pea soup and the cancer each one has. While discussing life, they come across a survey that instructs that 96% of people don't want to know the day of their death. It all leads to the accepting of the Bucket List.
The list begins with sky-diving - not Carter's idea but it brings a scene which we can enjoy as Carter screams his way down. A flaming red mustang, a racing arena, a yellow dodge, a private jet, a red head for Cole and a rejection of Rowena King by Carter.
In what is nothing new in the script, Carter works to bring peace between Cole and his estranged daughter, as Cole learns that his favorite coffee is from beans that have been digested through an animal.
Cole's business skills have brought him the ability to reach for completion of the list as the two men travel the same road of terminal cancer. Directed by Rob Reiner, the two stars make us laugh and smile at small things in life and watch their irreverence in the face of the end.
By the way, the final wish is completed in the last scene with the help of two empty cans of chuck-full-of-nuts - one last laugh by Cole and Chambers.