With the way that “50/50” expertly blends comedy and heart, one would think that Judd Apatow had a hand in making the film – a notion that might seem confirmed by Seth Rogen’s co-starring role. But instead, Rogen is going this one alone, bringing to the screen a true story based on his real-life friend’s battle with cancer. The result is a funny, charming and surprisingly touching film that provides an intriguing look at one man’s fight against cancer.
Written by: Will Reiser
Starring: Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anna Kendrick
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays straight-laced Adam, a healthy guy who doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t do drugs, and even recycles. As he jogs through the opening credits of the film, being sick is certainly the last thing on Adam’s mind. More likely on his mind is the fact that he has to get a ride to work every morning from his rough-around-the edges buddy Kyle (Rogen). But when Adam starts having back pain and finally gets it checked out by the doctor, he’s dumbstruck by the news that he has cancer.
At first, Adam takes everything in stride. Without any physical symptoms from the cancer and the effects of the chemo having yet to set in, things seem alright. He and Kyle share plenty of laughs and even succeed in using Adam’s cancer to pick up some girls at a bar. But as Adam’s chemotherapy continues and he begins to feel the effects, things go downhill fast. Suddenly his life is falling apart around him, and he suddenly realizes that he might not make it through this.
As expected, Gordon-Levitt gives a moving performance that makes it easy to grow attached to lovable good-guy Adam. And although Rogen plays his typical foul-mouthed, slobby stoner character, it really works for this film. Kyle’s spontaneous and pot-ridden lifestyle perfectly balances out Adam’s by-the-book demeanor. Watching them clash provides plenty of laughs, but there is also a very real bro-mantic chemistry between Rogen and Gordon-Levitt that makes the dramatic second half of the film that much more moving.
With “50/50,” Rogen has somehow managed to skillfully combine a buddy comedy with a heartfelt drama in a way that gives you the best out of both genres. This film tackles a difficult subject in a new way and manages to leave you with a warm feeling by the end. Not to mention that it’s a refreshing departure from some of Rogen’s previous films. This one is certainly worth a look.