February 20, 2012
By Nick Galasso
Release Date: September 30, 2011
Director: Jonathan Levine
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt; Seth Rogen; Anna Kendrick; Bryce Dallas Howard; Phillip Baker Hall; Matthew Frewer; and Anjelica Huston
Production: Summit Entertainment, Mandate Pictures, Point Grey Pictures
Runtime: 100 minutes
Based loosely on the life of the film’s screenwriter Will Reiser, 50/50 follows a man, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who finds out that he has cancer and must learn to deal with trying to get rid of the disease with the help of his best friend (Seth Rogen), his psychologist (Anna Kendrick) and his mother (Anjelica Huston). Sounds like a scenario for a cheesy Lifetime sort of movie right?
Well, 50/50 plays it much smarter than that. In fact, we get a funny and painful (and not in the “this movie is painfully bad” sort of way) look at a young man scared that the end of his life may be near. The film treats its subject matter with the utmost care, and never tries to manipulate the audience into feeling bad for the main character. Joseph Gordon-Levitt handles one of his best performances here. We also see Seth Rogen get to play … well Seth Rogen (literally this time, as he’s Will Reiser’s best friend in real life) but this is the Seth Rogen we know from Knocked Up where the character also has actual depth to him rather than the Seth Rogen we know as just a bland stoner. He provides some of the cruder moments within the film although each crude joke is always executed with such a sense of heart that you find yourself laughing a little easier than you would in a typical Seth Rogen comedy. Overall, with its fine performances and solid screenplay, 50/50 is a deeply personal tale that is sure to keep you laughing while pulling at your heartstrings.