Wednesday, February 15, 2012


50/50 is less a comedy about cancer, and more just a serious film about cancer that happens to be quite funny at times. Knowing that it was based on the writer's own experience, it's not hard to figure out how the movie will end, but on its way there there's plenty of raw emotion and dramatic weight to scenes that require it, so it's definitely not the easiest movie co-starring Seth Rogen to watch that you'll ever see. I thought the script did an excellent job of balancing the crap that the main character has to go through and not sugar-coating the tough reality of being sick with the required levity of a wisecracking best friend and some romantic elements. It allows the movie to be respectful of the pain and loss cancer can cause without getting too self-serious or overindulgent in examining the suffering of human existence. Not every moment is perfect, but the movie is sincere and pretty consistent rewarding.

The cast is also pretty solid, with a mix of younger stars and talented industry veterans. Joseph Gordon-Levitt had to step in at the last minute, but I thought he was good as usual. His character isn't as charming as he usually is, since a lot of the time he's weak and sick and in an understandable bad mood. But he stays likable anyway, and somehow makes being a cancer patient seem relatable. Rogen is actually friends with the writer in real life, so in a way he's acting out something that's already happened to him, and while he doesn't exactly have to do a lot of serious acting, his character is an important one for keeping the story balanced and he's fine as his usual Seth Rogen self. Anna Kendrick's role definitely reminded me of her part in Up in the Air playing a woman who seems a bit young to be in the position she is professionally, and again makes that sort of character sympathetic with a mix of quirks and flaws. There are other characters who come and go throughout the movie to varying effect, but I thought the scenes featuring Gordon-Levitt and one of the other two were usually the best in the movie. I guess it was a bit too much of a raunchy (dialogue-wise, anyway) comedy to get serious award attention, but it's definitely one of the better movies from last year that I've seen.

No comments: