Cancer is generally not a funny thing, so making a humorous movie on the subject is a tough proposition. However, 50/50 presents a few light laughs throughout and tries to tackle a topic that most films deal with only in the saddest of situations.
Twenty-seven-year-old Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, “Inception”) is dating Rachael (Bryce Dallas Howard, “The Help”). He works for a radio station with his buddy Kyle (Seth Rogen, “The Green Hornet”) and overall has an okay life, at least until his doctor diagnoses him with a rare form of cancer. Adam gives Rachael an out, saying that if she wants to break up with him, he’ll be fine with it, but she insists that she will be there to support him, as do Kyle and also Adam’s mother, Diane (Anjelica Huston, “When in Rome”). He starts to do therapy at the hospital, and his therapist is 24 years old (Anna Kendrick, “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse”) and in the process of getting her PhD, and that helps; Adam also starts chemotherapy and makes some new friends there. He looks up his chances online to see how many people beat this type of cancer, and it says 50% (hence the movie title), but the chemo isn’t working on him; eventually he must have surgery, which will either remove the tumor in his spine or possibly make it worse.
This is the first movie for Joseph Gordon-Levitt other than Hesher in which he is the main star, and he performs admirably here as Adam. Seth Rogen plays the character he seems to play in all of his movies – the happy-go-lucky, swearing-up-a-storm friend – and Anna Kendrick has a nice role as Gordon-Levitt’s therapist. Anjelica Huston is underused here but gives a good performance as Gordon-Levitt’s mother, and his father has Alzheimer’s Disease so he doesn’t have many speaking lines.
Maybe see this film. I liked the movie, but it was overall very slow-paced. There were definitely some funny lines sprinkled throughout, most of which were Rogen’s, and the audience and I laughed at these; although 50/50 is a dramedy, it never crosses the line and becomes completely a comedy, which was good since the subject matter here is so delicate. If you are a fan of “slice of life” movies, or an admirer of Gordon-Levitt or Seth Rogen, you will like this movie, but if you are looking for something a little more “exciting,” you may want to skip it.
50/50 is in theaters today, September 30th, and is rated R, with an approximate runtime of 100 minutes.
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