All the pieces are here: two aging Hollywood icons (Jack Nicholson, As Good As It Gets; Morgan Freeman, Million Dollar Baby), each with Oscar wins; a quirky supporting actor (Sean Hayes, TV's Will & Grace) providing some comic relief; and a director (Rob Reiner, Stand By Me) known for creating films with colorful characters and beautifully emotional undertones.
Wealthy independent hospital magnate Edward Cole (Nicholson) and mechanic Carter Chambers (Freeman) find themselves roommates at one of Cole's facilities, and both are given terminal diagnoses. Cole latches onto Chambers' idea of making a metaphorical list of things to do before he dies, and soon the pair are touring the world, achieving and seeing everything they've missed. But before they can check off all the items, both must face their personal issues and decide what's most important before their impending deaths.
While both actors are amalgams of their greatest characters—Nicholson a gruff bachelor and Freeman a wizened intellectual—there's a lull in the script that makes it difficult to latch onto the plight of Cole and Chambers. The film can be lumped into three stages: introduction, activity, emotion. If you can get past the awkward beginnings and the obvious use of a green screen as the pair races cars and visits foreign lands, your reward is the final third of the movie when the script finally jells and the men show their emotional range. You'll need some patience and a few tissues with this title, but the payoff is worth it.
This video courtesy of Hollywood Video, 590 Broadway Ave., 208-342-6117.