Mixed or average reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 34
  2. Negative: 12 out of 34
  1. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    This movie exists wholly in the realm of metaphor, whose messages stick out like placards: Find joy through pain. Reunite with estranged loved ones. Keep hope alive.
  2. You'd think the team of Rob Reiner, Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman might have had the right stuff. Alas, their labored efforts fail to lift The Bucket List out of its flatlining state.
  3. 88
    Actors tell us that dying is easy, comedy is hard. But comedies about dying are hardest of all.
  4. 75
    The movie's sincerity helps it get over some of the most difficult hurdles and the feeling after leaving theater is one of having experienced something worthwhile albeit unremarkable.
  5. The leads, who were born six weeks apart in 1937, have remarkable hare-and-tortoise chemistry.
  6. Despite some emotional dips and a see-it-to-believe-it load of schmaltz at the end, The Bucket List is mostly a joy ride with good company, and the actors obviously were having a high time on their traveling boondoggle.
  7. Reviewed by: Sid Smith
    A manipulative look at dying with dignity and a lame yarn about as realistic as the fantasy in “The Princess Bride.”
  8. Nothing wrong about a movie that says, Stop and smell the roses. Now, if only director Rob Reiner hadn't rubbed our noses in a bouquet of plastic blooms.
  9. 50
    In The Bucket List, Nicholson is human-ish. And Freeman is so human.
  10. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    The entire undertaking feels like a waste of time and talent.
  11. 25
    A movie about two old codgers who are nothing like people, both suffering from cancer that is nothing like cancer, and setting off on adventures that are nothing like possible.
  12. 25
    Rob Reiner's feel-good tear-jerker, in which dying well is the best revenge, wants to be heartwarming. But first-timer Justin Zackham's screenplay is so stridently formulaic and disingenuous that the film falls flat at every inspirational turn.
  13. Reviewed by: Aaron Hillis
    This terminally ill, terminally awful dramedy marks a sad cinematic milestone: The Bucket List is the first film in history to feature a truly wretched Nicholson performance -- and we're not talking about the character he plays.
  14. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    The script is weak and obvious and the direction disappointingly unimaginative. But stars are stars, and the old boys are terrific - enough to make this a funny and sometimes moving buddy picture.
  15. 30
    Edward and Carter are like the original Odd Couple, except nobody’s laughing.
  16. Reviewed by: Josh Rosenblatt
    White-bread storytelling made by, for, and about people who think joy and meaning can be acquired by simply taking a step or two out of life’s comfort zones and into African-safari packages and skydiving excursions.
  17. The movie has its moments, and some are undeniably affecting. But even those seem artificial, relying far too much on our familiarity with and fondness for the film's stars.
  18. The first thing to say about The Bucket List is that Rob Reiner is the rare director who can take all the wonder out of one of the seven wonders of the world.
  19. The most insipidly innocuous film ever made about facing mortality and living it up before passing away, The Bucket List has as much poetry and poise as its clumsy, clunky title.
  20. Reviewed by: Julia Wallace
    Turns out The Bucket List is a meta-film, mostly about how these two legendary actors interact and what it means to be an actor in your own life.
  21. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    A feel-good film about death, a sitcom about mortality, "Ikiru" for meatheads. It's also a picture about two cancer patients confronting reality, and deciding how they want to spend their presumed last days, that has not an ounce of reality about it.
  22. 50
    Freeman and Nicholson make the most of Justin Zackham's script, but there just isn't enough substance behind their characters to prop up the carpe diem platitudes. The result is a semi-comedic, geriatric "Brokeback Mountain" minus the sex and with a Himalayan summit.
  23. Fails its stars in fundamental ways. Mr. Nicholson has played wealthy rogues before (most recently in “Something’s Gotta Give”), but this particular bon vivant is unsalvageably repellent.
  24. 50
    The Bucket List will quickly be kicked into oblivion, but, at a lifetime-achievement-award ceremony, Nicholson’s tempest will fit nicely into a montage of Crazy Jack moments.
  25. 30
    Director Rob Reiner’s atrocious cancer “comedy” marks a new low in Hollywood’s self-flagellating “things to be thankful for” tradition.
  26. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    The overall sense, however, is of a movie coasting on an obvious and somewhat flimsy premise, to which no one thought to bring much else besides Nicholson and Freeman.
  27. 20
    Any moron can make a bad movie. But it takes a special breed of schemer to make a picture as shameless as The Bucket List.
  28. I don't know if Rob Reiner is the one to blame for this atrocity, but he directed and coproduced.
  29. 67
    There are certainly worse ways to spend the holiday season than in the company of two charming old actors, being reminded that human companionship makes life worth living, even as it makes dying a little tougher.
  30. The Bucket List is a movie for oldsters that, paradoxically, looks as if it was made for 15-year-olds. If this is what is meant in Hollywood as "thinking outside the box," then it's time to get a new box.
  31. 50
    Feels every bit as cheap and flimsy as Edward's hospital.
  32. Director Rob Reiner is betting that their star power alone will blind us to the holes in this cheesecloth of a script. It proves a fool's bet – no star shines that brightly.
  33. Freeman and Nicholson mostly stand in front of special-effects green screens and have the locales projected, like they're in a "Road" picture.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 140 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 42 out of 51
  2. Negative: 6 out of 51
  1. Aug 31, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. Why is this so badly received by critics? It's not terrible at all, and it's really, really good for a film starring two very well-known names. Yeah, it's predictable (in case you don't know the movie, the guys both die, and it's hinted at from the very beginning) but it's sooooo funny. Full Review »
  2. Mar 6, 2011
    Once again, the critics have it all wrong. Glad we didn't rely on their rating. The movie is wonderful in every way. The only part that wasOnce again, the critics have it all wrong. Glad we didn't rely on their rating. The movie is wonderful in every way. The only part that was over the top was the crashing of the two cars. Making a "Bucket List" is a good idea for everyone, as it is helpful to set goals and contemplate one's mortality. We will highly recommend this movie. Full Review »
  3. JureB
    Nov 6, 2009
    In today's times when theaters and all film and video production is overwhelmed by violence - needles to say that our ancestors are In today's times when theaters and all film and video production is overwhelmed by violence - needles to say that our ancestors are becoming lost idiotic FPS slayers that often mix reality and fantasy - hat down goes to screenwriter, director, Jack and Morgan for this emotional life experience. By the way I'm 36 now if someone thinks I'm an old pathetic grandpa. And those critics - they are becoming corrupted irrelevant personas. Full Review »