Jack Nicholson is a billionaire playboy with a playful sense of humour, a short fuse and a sarcastic turn of phrase. Morgan Freeman is a blue-collar worker with a responsible work ethic, inherent wisdom, a talent for stating the obvious and a burning desire to narrate everything he does. Both are dying of cancer.
Forced to share a hospital room, wealthy Edward (Nicholson) is gradually and grudgingly won over by the gentler, more down-to-earth Carter Chambers (Freeman), who he decides must live a little before his time is up. Whisking him away from the hospital and his horribly one-dimensional nagging wife, Edward takes Carter on the trip of a lifetime.
The big idea is to tick every box on a ‘bucket list’ – ie everything you want to do before you die. This involves skydiving and swanky hotels, which puts Carter in grateful awe of how the other half lives. Tensions arise when both try to interfere with each other’s family relationships, but this doesn’t get in the way of a tearful ending.
The conclusion is moving enough, but it’s no thanks to Freeman’s now obligatory sentimental narration. Nicholson may be funny, but with its dumbed-down script, this is less a comedy, more a melodrama for morons.