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Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen team up to beat the odds in a film that Rolling Stone calls achingly hilarious and heartfelt. Diagnosed with spinal cancer, 27 year old Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) navigates the road to recovery with the sometimes overbearing support of his crude best friend (Rogen), his smothering mother (Angelica Huston) and an inexperienced therapist (Anna Kendrick). Inspired by a true story of writer Will Reiser, 50/50 is an honest yet hysterically funny account of a young man's journey toward healing.
Since actor-coproducer Seth Rogen helped to bring Superbad to life, 50/50 might also suggest a sex comedy, except Jonathan Levine's film is more like a drama with comedy sequences (some of which involve sex). In a switch from his Inception smoothie, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Adam, a strait-laced 27-year-old who works in Seattle public radio with his hedonistic best friend, Rogen's Kyle. Back pain brings Adam to an oncologist who diagnoses cancer, prescribes chemotherapy, and recommends counseling, which leads him to Katie, a doctoral student (Anna Kendrick) who makes up in compassion what she lacks in experience. If Kyle takes the news with good humor, Adam's girlfriend, Rachael (Kendrick's Twilight costar Bryce Dallas Howard), puts on a strained smile, while his mother (Anjelica Huston) goes into freak-out mode. At the hospital, Adam also befriends two cancer patients (Philip Baker Hall and Matt Frewer) who share their foul-mouthed wisdom--along with marijuana-laced macaroons--but Rachael finally cracks, leaving Adam to fend for himself, except that he isn't as defenseless as he thought, which comes in handy when he finds out the chemo isn't working. Will Reiser, who wrote the script, drew from his own experience, and the results ring true, even if he's too hard on Rachael, who sincerely tries to be supportive. In his follow-up to The Wackness, which centered around a congenial dope dealer, Levine treats the other characters with more respect, and avoids the sentimentality that mars most movies about potentially fatal illnesses--plus, it's a lot funnier. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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Blu-ray came in great condition. Highly recommended dramedy with tons of great talent who continue to shine today.
This piece was successful in that it melded our dubious contemporary culture with the life and death themes of all drama. Crisis in life is unavoidable and does not necessarily make all ships rise to the tide. There were no pretentions here and I did not feel like I was being patronized, but felt elevated never-the-less.
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The nervous and charming young Therapist played by Anna Kendrick is still studying for her Doctorate and cannot help breaching the Patient-Doctor gap, to become Adam's (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) girl friend after his successful operation.
Adding to this comedy with serious undertones, Bryce Dallas Howard plays the Father with Dementia who thinks that he is having an affair with his own wife, Adam's Mother, played by Angelica Huston.
(if my memory doesn't trick me, Joseph Gordon-Levitt doesn't have a bad performance in his career. He just needs the perfect movie to become widely known and respected... in any case, I believe everything he does, with special kudos to his magnificent personification of a younger Bruce Willis in the fantastic Looper)
It is about a character who is sensible, waits for the green man before crossing the road,exercises does not drink or smoke or the such, mainly stays in. But yet still he gets cancer, which conflicts with his lifestyle of being sensible, making it difficult for him to logically process this. There is no reasoning he can hang onto for it occuring, or a set reaction for him to take.
I suppose one negetive point about it to me was that occasionally I found the best friend character a bit annoying with his constant steriotypical self absorbed sort of wants - a loud sex wanting character lacking sensitivity to the situation. He wanted the main character to use his illness for sexual gain. Far too many comedies rely on a character loudly talking about sex to get by and upon initally watching i was worried that it would progress into that.
However later that character was developed further. And the dynamic of the relationships was better. After a while I was even a little glad that there was this non sensible best friend in order to provide a lack of sensibility to have fun with. A person of which this sensible main character could turn to for non sensible reactions to being ill.
The film was interesting and had a good cast. The main character was not self absorbed thus making the other characters have personalities rather than just be fillers round him, it was realstic in places and mildly humourous in others - but still takles a major illness so is not hugely a comedy.
50/50 ain't going to win any awards nor will it tax your grey-matter to any great degree. Nonetheless, it is a nicely mawkish and heart-warming film; and it will have you biting your lip on occasions (damn you, I will not cry at anything with Seth Rogen in it). If it isn't enough for our man to be battling a disease with dubious odds of survival he's got a bevvy of strained & strange relationships to deal with in the form of family, friend and other half.
There isn't much more to be said for it really; suffice it to say, if you're looking for a night in with no surprises, humour, humanity, and thankfully less-than-saccharine plot then 50/50 fits the bill nicely.
As far as the extras go, there are some great deleted scenes (sadly few in number) and a hilarious audio commentary, which actually rarely involves discussing the film. I bought the film on blu-ray double play but to be honest I'm not convinced this is a film that really needs it. All the extras are listed as available on the DVD edition and the filming and effects are understated (which works perfectly with the tone of the film) so I'm not convinced the HD adds much to it. Hmmm an excuse to watch again so I can judge by watching on the DVD :-).
As for the film, there are 3 points going for it: 1) JGL is in it, 2) Seth Rogen is hilarious and 3) I'm a medic and therefore I root for the main subject of this film - fighting cancer.
this film really made me respect my life alot more seth and joseph are fantastic actors but i do have to agree that seth shouldent of been playing that role, but still a good film.