A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
For all of the bluster of one of the characters, the movie's overall message is heartwarming and affirming: A list filled with exotic adventures is fun, but the biggest task to check off before your time is up is staring life (or death) in the face and embracing its daily joys.
Violence & Scariness
At one point, Cole and Chambers scream at each other on a sidewalk. A married couple also argues (not much screaming, but there's tension).
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A flight attendant leaves an airplane washroom looking unkempt and fastening the buttons of her blouse; a man leaves the same washroom soon after (shenanigans are implied). A woman propositions a married man (he turns her down). Some semi-crass discussion of sex. A husband and wife embrace tenderly and reminisce about the first time they got together. One entry on the list is "to kiss the most beautiful woman in the room."
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Everything from "goddammit" to "s--tty" to "f--king" (though the "F" word is used sparingly). One character gives another the finger.
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Products & Purchases
Numerous raves for the kopi luwak, Indonesian coffee known to be the most expensive on earth. Signage for Cole's hospital, Reed Hill. A glimpse of a NYC taxi logo. One character loves to watch Jeopardy.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some drinking in social situations (restaurants, etc).
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that although this movie is a comedy, it deals with cancer and death: The first half of the movie shows how the illness ravages the body and wrecks the spirit (or at least attempts to). Patients are shown getting their heads shaved, doubled over toilets retching, and wandering hospital corridors tethered to IVs. Through it all, there's a fair amount of strong language (including "f--k," though it's sparing). Ultimately, though, the film is about overcoming challenges and staring death in the face without blinking -- an uplifting note on which to end. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Viewers looking for innovative storytelling and surprises won't find much of either in Rob Reiner's THE BUCKET LIST. It's straightforward and predictable, with nary a divergence from the standard Hollywood playbook. But that doesn't mean it's not engaging -- and for that, it has its two leads to thank. You have to give the producers props for trying, but it's all a bit too treacly. Save for one unexpected twist, within the first half hour, you can pretty much tell which loose ends will be tied up before the credits roll. (No offense to Freeman, but can we do away with his now-ubiquitous, gravitas-filled voiceover? The man has other talents.) Cole will be revealed to have a soul much more complicated than the movie first hints; Chambers will become a man much more conflicted than his serene exterior suggests. And you can bet that each helps the other fully realize his potential.
Still, there's a certain delight in seeing Nicholson and Freeman interact; it's a heavyweight duet in which Reiner clearly takes delight. He gives them time to playfully spar and do what each does best (Nicholson is playful, Freeman is grave). Maybe the next movie they'll be in -- and they ought to team up again -- will have a more insightful, original script. Though, truth be told, obvious as The Bucket List may be, you may find yourself hard pressed not to be moved -- if only a little -- in the end.
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Our Editors Recommend
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