I wasn’t sure what to expect from this movie. On the one hand, a story about of two dying old coots going out for one last kick at the can sounded sentimental and obvious. On the other hand, it features two of my favourite actors in what has to be the most inspired pairing since Lemmon and Matthau.
The story itself includes most of the elements one would expect from this sort of thing: the skydiving escapade, the reunion with the estranged family member, the heartfelt eulogy. There are a couple of unexpected turns, but not many.
What makes ‘The Bucket List’ so appealing, despite the inevitable cliches, is the relationship between these two men. They are very different people who have led very different lives, and yet in their last few months they manage to form an intimate bond that allows them to share their secret regrets and, if not resolve them, at least come to terms.
Just for being a pleasant surprise I’ll give it 3 stars.
(Murray was disappointed, and yet gave it the same rating. Hmm. I was also surprised to see that Roger Ebert only gave it one star, until I read his review. It seems his main objection is to what he considers to be an unrealistic portrayal of two cancer patients in a hospital. Given his recent hospital experience... fair enough.)