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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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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.
I love movies in this style, with subtle, realistic acting and dialogue with nothing over the top.
I'll be honest, I choked up more than once in this film!
diagnosed with cancer in the prime of his youth, and given a 50-50 chance at survival. It is based on a true story. While stories
of this kind can be cloying and corny, this one manages to be entertaining, and gets better as it goes along. Seth Rogen plays
his usual obnoxious character, who sees his friend's predicament more as a "Bucket List" opportunity to get lots of sex etc. at
first, but gradually realizes the seriousness of the situation. The last half of the film really becomes involving and satisfying.
Definitely worth a look.