Cancer is not something to be taken lightly. The growth of malignant cells in the body is not funny…at all…unless it involves Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen. The duo creates comic gold while pulling on some heart strings in 50/50, a moving film about a young man diagnosed with cancer and the tribulations that go with it.
Loosely based on his personal experience with the disease, writer Will Reiser shows a person with cancer still has a funny bone. Just when the film dwells on the emotional and serious side, Reiser is there to balance it immediately with wit and humor, and vice versa. The movie follows Adam Lerner, a nice guy who works in public radio, and takes care of the earth and his body. After experiencing backaches, he visits a doctor and is told he has a malignant tumor in his spine, giving him a 50% chance to live. Gordon-Levitt is one of the most underrated actors today, and he showcases that talent in 50/50. His touching performance showing the roller coaster of emotions is impeccable, making Gordon-Levitt the heart of the film. Living with cancer is not an easy task, but it helps when you have Kyle (Rogen), Adam’s pot-smoking, foul-mouthed best friend who is always on the prowl. Director Jonathan Levine allows Rogen to do his best: ramble. The Canadian actor is at his best when given liberty to improvise and ad lib, and 50/50 is full of one-liners that are sure to make you choke on your popcorn. Anna Kendrick gives the film a innocence playing young, naive Dr. Katie McKay, a therapist who talks to Adam about living with the disease. Much like she does with the audience, Katie grows on Adam, and the two build a sweet relationship founded by their connection of sojourning in unknown territory.
50/50 dances around a serious topic, but ultimately delivers every ray of the emotional spectrum. It is difficult to classify it is a comedy or a drama, but it’s simple enough label it a good movie.