When you hear Seth Rogen’s name associated with a movie you most likely start thinking of a comedy with sex, drug use and lots of profanity. “50/50” stars Seth Rogen; it is a comedy and does have sex, drug use, lots of profanity and one extra element, cancer.
“50/50” was written by Will Reiser, a close friend of Seth Rogen and the movie is loosely based on Will’s experience when he was diagnosed with cancer many years ago. Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is living the American dream, he has a good job, owns a house, good friends and has beautiful girlfriend (Bryce Dallas Howard). His world is turned upside down when he learns he has cancer, a real shock to him since he leads a healthy lifestyle.
Many of the people in Adam’s life look at him as if he already has one foot in the grave. These people include Adam’s mother (Oscar winner Anjelica Huston) and his best friend, Kyle (Rogen). Kyle thinks Adam should take full advantage of the situation because he can probably use the disease to get laid. One person who gives Adam some understanding is Katherine (Anna Kendrick) a hospital therapist who gets assigned to Adam.
How do you make a movie about someone who gets cancer a straight comedy? You don’t, you respect the material and pay equally as much attention to the dramatic aspect of the movie. This is the area where “50/50” really excels, there are plenty of great laughs in the movie; however, there are also plenty of gut-wrench dramatic moments as well.
Reiser constructed an excellent screenplay and director Jonathan Levine found a great balance in incorporating the comedy of “50/50” along with all the drama. Levine could have easily skewed one way or the other. “50/50” could have been a hard drama with a few light moments worked in, or leaned more towards the comedy aspects if it wanted to, tasteless as that choice would have been. The movie appropriately divides the two genres fifty-fifty.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anna Kendrick really stand out in “50/50”. Levitt has been finding great material for himself time and time again and is well on his way to become a high priced, headlining talent. Kendrick also continues to seek out great projects to associate herself with that allows her to expand herself as an actress. Anna can be seen in the next Twilight movie in November, but she may end up with the biggest career of anyone coming out of that film series.
Angelica Houston and Bryce Dallas Howard are great in their roles too. Seth Rogen does not do too many new things in “50/50”. Since he has actually lived this alongside Will Reiser, he has revealed he more or less was playing himself in this movie. He does help provide many of the lighter moments in “50/50”.
It’s a little too early to tell if “50/50” will earn any nominations when award season gets here. It doesn’t matter because it is a quality movie at a time where most other movies out there are anything, but quality. The movie is rated R for language throughout, sexual content and drug use.