This mini-response ran over a month ago, but I wasn't aware of an apparent review embargo until Opening day. So I'm tossing it into the firestorm today:
Rob Reiner's latest was a good film to take in the day before Thanksgiving. It does, after all, have some thematic relevance. But what you might have expected from "The Bucket List" is in fact what you get, a heavy layer of schmaltz that doesn't settle into anything that feels genuine or ultimately enjoyable, given the potential in front of the camera.
I'm not going to offer a full pan of the film, becaue it doesn't really deserve that. It's heart is in the right place and it should be a fun film for families to enjoy over the holidays, but give Justin Zackham's script over to one of the industry's many gifted "doctors," and you might have ended up with something of substance.
Morgan Freeman is business as usual. Jack Nicholson touches this or that unique note, but mainly it's just Jack being Jack. And it isn't the awards-caliber Jack we wouldn't have been out of bounds to expect. It's just not that kind of film. It's not in it's DNA to rise above a certain level of mere acceptance. But sometimes that's enough for a casual movie-goer, and so I'm sure "The Bucket List" will find an audience.