Monday, January 23, 2012
The film is based on a script from Will Reiser, who was diagnosed with cancer and shares his personal experience in this emotional story of a nice guy who is diagnosed with cancer and the roller coaster of emotions and experiences that he must go through. "50/50" is directed by Jonathan Levine, who's most recent film was "The Wackness" (2008), showed the balance between comedy and a serious dramatic topic. With any movie that involves the topic of cancer, or any other terminal illness, having that balance with comedy is extremely important. Too much comedy and the topic isn't taken seriously enough, and too little comedy results in a dry heartless film that feels like it will never end. The balance allows for the audience to connect with the characters, which is something that Will Reiser and Jonathan Levine have successfully provided us with "50/50".
The story follows Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a young man coping with a cancer diagnosis. Fortunately, he doesn't have to go through the battle alone as he has his best friend, Kyle, played by Seth Rogen and an over-bearing mother played by Anjelica Huston. The cast is sparked by Anna Kendrick and Bryce Dallas Howard. However, it might be the performance from Philip Baker Hall as a fellow cancer patient that helps provide the most comfort to Adam.
Comparisons to "Funny People" (2009), but is more similar to "Love and Other Drugs" (2010) and "Philadelphia" (1993). The reason I make that indifference is because of how the story focuses on the emotions of the individual battling the illness as compared to how it impacts those around you. Additionally, the connection made with the main character is much stronger and believable in these other films as compared to Adam Sandler from "Funny People" who is a jerk through most of the movie. I very much enjoyed "Funny People", but these other films are much better.
Seth Rogen is hilarious in this role. Any film involving Seth Rogen seems to require the use of smoking weed. However, it is finally included for a proper reason as medicinal marijuana. The conversation between Adam, Kyle and two of Adam's older cancer friends is one of the best scenes in the movie second only to a scene near the end of the film with Joseph Gordon-Levitt behind the wheel of a car. The emotion that is portrayed in this film is so very powerful that it resonates with many of us that have gone through the battles of cancer with a loved one.
I could see this film receiving some attention for the screenplay and possibly Joseph Gordon-Levitt getting an acting nomination; however I would doubt he would win for it. I hope everyone marks their calendar for this film in September and if you don't cry than you may not have a heart. For me it is a 5 Quack film.
(screening date 5/17/11, release date 9/30/11, location AMC Mazza Gallerie)