Monday, October 17, 2011

50/50: Movie Review

The mostly weird, but the funny and the beautiful of the comedy of cancer.

“50/50” takes the dying-of-cancer genre and mixes it with the crass-and-crude comedy genre. The result is a film which is half-touching and half-funny, and only barely adds up to a whole. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has made a career out of playing the nice guy with the simple and subtle reactions, usually in light comedies, but as 27 year-old Adam there was a bit too much of the nice and light.2011

Directed by: Jonathan Levine

Screenplay by: Will Reiser

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen and Anna Kendrick

Seth Rogen has made a career out of playing the bumbling best friend with rude lines and sexual innuendoes. As usual, he was still pretty funny here. But it is a weird mix when one friend is dying of cancer and the other is making jokes about getting laid in high school. It is also exactly what the film was trying to do.

Adam is trying to come to an understanding and acceptance of the finality of his life, and it is his life. He wants everybody to understand that. Whether it’s the unhelpful assistance of his passive aggressive girlfriend (Bryce Dallas Howard), or the awkward joke-making of his best friend, or the incessant meddling of his mother, Adam just wants to be left alone. Not actually alone, alone, but alone with them.

There was something void in Adam’s struggle of his fate. He was perhaps too staid during a part of life that those of us who are the same age as him, won’t be able to have the same understanding. Either way, there was something missing for that needed level of sympathy.

What was missing was a humorous, touching and compassionate love interest. She arrived in the form of the beautiful and funny Anna Kendrick. She was our connection to Adam. She was the one that was able to meld the comedy and the dying-of-cancer tragedy into something that wasn’t weird. I would like to say that she came into the picture too late and was used too little, but “50/50” was trying to make it more about Adam and all the relationships in his life.