50/50 is a touching film that centers around the life of 27-year-old Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and his friend Kyle (Seth Rogen). The film starts off as a somewhat typical comedy – until Adam sees a doctor about some back pain he’s been having, only to be diagnosed with a rare form of back cancer. At that point, the story takes somewhat of a u-turn as it focuses on Adam’s struggle with cancer and how it affects his relationship with Kyle, his family and those closest to him.
I’ll start off by saying that while Seth Rogen does an excellent job of keeping the humor in the film, if you’re looking for a comedy that will have you laughing every minute, this is not the movie for you. There were a lot of scenes that had me laughing out loud, but I would classify this as a more serious and almost depressing film in parts. I’m not saying this to completely deter people from going to see this movie; I thought it was excellent. I’m only saying it so they’ll know what to expect. It is what it is, a story about a young man who struggles with a rare and dangerous back cancer.
The acting was amazing by everyone, but especially Joseph Gordon-Levitt. His reactions were so genuine. It was easy to believe that Adam was a real person who was dealing with life-threatening cancer. I was really impressed and I felt I would probably react to his situation in a similar fashion.
This was probably one of the better films I’ve seen with Seth Rogen. He balanced some of the depressing aspects of the movie well with humor and it wasn’t at all overdone. It wasn’t all about being funny for Seth’s character, Kyle. There were moments of emotion and sympathy towards Adam, which made Kyle a character I could relate to. It came as no surprise when I found out, after seeing the film, that the script was inspired by a true story involving Seth’s real-life friend Will Reiser who was diagnosed with cancer.
My Rating: This was one of the better comedy/dramas I have seen and I think it is worth catching on the big screen.
I knew I wanted to see 50/50 the moment I saw Joseph Gordon-Levitt was playing Adam. Gordon-Levitt makes smart film choices (Inception and 500 Days of Summer are in my Top 20) and is perfect for the lead role. He has the rare ability to play a sensitive character without being too needy or pathetic. Gordon-Levitt is a strong emotional actor who can draw an audience in and make them root for him.
My only hesitation about the movie was Seth Rogen. After watching the big screen disaster The Green Hornet (or as I refer to it, the “I’d rather get a root canal than watch this crap”), I didn’t have any desire to see him on the big screen ever again. I’m actually surprised that I liked him in this movie considering he played the same loud, bedraggled character that he always plays. I mean come on, Kyle is a bottom feeder – he uses Adam’s cancer to pick up women. I don’t know how he did it, but Rogen somehow managed to make this funny. He brought warmth and loyalty to the character, making it easy to see why he and Adam were best friends. There’s also a certain level of brutal honesty in Kyle that makes the relationship between him and Adam work – he’s the backbone Adam needs.
Since 50/50 is a dramedy, the script had to maintain a balance between comedy and drama, and I think it succeeded. If you’re looking for typical Seth Rogen raunchiness (Knocked Up, Pineapple Express), you’re probably not going to like the heavy reality of this film; however, if you’re looking for a poignant story that showcases real characters who deliver honest reactions, ranging from quiet rage to cathartic laughter, you’ll love this movie.
My Rating: 50/50 is worth seeing on the big screen at matinee prices.