Wednesday, October 12, 2011


In Short:
A finely crafted blend of happy and sad and three of the most likeable young actors make 50/50 a unique and enjoyable film


Full review after the jump…

My Ramblings:
I had been excited to see 50/50 ever since the first trailer was posted (hence my excited post seen here), mostly because of the cast but also because it's not often you see something as terrible and depressing as Cancer take center stage in a film trying to make you laugh.  After seeing the film I now know it is indeed about Cancer, and it does try to make you laugh...but it is as much a Drama as it is a Comedy.  There are plenty of your typical Seth Rogen weed, sex, and absurd comparison jokes (e.g. "Your face looks like Robin Williams' knuckles"), but the majority of the film focuses on the effect that Cancer has on not only the patient, but on all those in the patient's life.  I have lost a damn good grandmother and one of the world's best dogs to Cancer, and I hate it.  There aren't many things on this earth that I can say I truly hate, but Cancer is for sure on the list.  It comes on suddenly and so often with no explainable reason why it chose who it did.  We spend billions researching how to cure it, but there appears to be no cure in our near future, and there may never be as a Cancer cell in you is not necessarily the same as a Cancer cell in me and it's tough to cure something with that much variation from person to person.  Enough depressing Cancer talk though.  You will get plenty of the that in the film and I don't want to burn you out on it before you even see the movie.

Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a 20-something radio station worker who is living a safe and quiet life when he is suddenly diagnosed with Cancer.  That is really about all the synopsis you need.  The film then focuses on how Adam deals with diagnosis and treatment, how his girlfriend (Bryce Dallas Howard) handles this new wrinkle in the relationship, what a stoner best friend (Seth Rogen) does in a troubling situation, how an overbearing Mother  (a slimmed down and younger looking Anjelica Huston) copes, and the help (or lack thereof) a grief counselor (Anna Kendrick) can provide for a Cancer patient.

I already touch on the suckiness of Cancer and blend of Drama and Comedy in the film, so time to talk about the cast.  In a number of past posts I have whined about Actor's always playing the same character in movies, and Seth Rogen is the poster boy for same-character-itis.  While this usually bothers me, it just doesn't with him.  Saying his characters are "similar" is a drastic under statement because they are the exact same characters.  But for whatever reason, I still don't care!  He is always funny and always likeable and I'm just immature enough to always find that style of humor hilarious.  If you look at the most recent comments on his IMDB page you will see that most people do not agree with me, exemplified by the second comment aptly titled "He Sucks...".  Something about him makes him very human and, maybe because his immature humor is a perfect replication of me and all my friends throughout college, very relatable.  I'll praise the next two actors much more briefly.  Anna Kendrick is the perfect girl next door, and there is doubt in my mind that she deserved the 2010 Best Supporting Actress Oscar far more than Mo'Nique did, but her role in Up in the Air wasn't flashy enough to get any votes.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt is always great (although admittedly he isn't quite as good in 50/50 as he has been in past roles), plus he was in 10 Things I Hate About You, Inception and (500) Days of Summer and you simply cannot knock that track record.  This great cast plus a large dose of both drama and comedy, it don't get much better than that...


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