October 3, 2011 by Vinnie Leduc
After a summer atypically saturated with R-rated comedies, this weekend offered two new ones to moviegoers. I love Anna Faris, but I swear if I see another trailer or TV spot for What’s Your Number?, I’m going to scoop out my eyeballs with a spoon. Instead, I forked over some money for another set of numbers, 50/50. Inspired by the true events surrounding Seth Rogan’s real-life friend and producer/writer Will Reiser (who also wrote the film) upon being diagnosed with a rare cancer, 50/50 is a solid upgrade from director Jonathan Levine’s previous film, The Wackness. His new dramedy equally balances drama and comedy, a difficult and impressive feat considering the gravity of the subject matter.
Golden Globe nominee Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who’s well-experienced in both genres after a successful transition from his childhood acting days, nails the starring role. 50/50 is nothing like his last film, Inception, and probably unlike his next, The Dark Knight Rises, so think of his performance in one of the last great romcoms, (500) Days of Summer. He’s complemented by a supporting cast that’s just as splendid… yes, even Seth Rogan. I was afraid that I’d be sick (pun intended) of the ubiquitous Rogan, in a far-too-familiar role as yet another stoner/boozer man-child, but he manages to be a not-too-obnoxious reincarnation of his characters from Knocked Up, Funny People, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Pineapple Express, The 40-Year-Old Virgin… all right, basically anything you’ve seen him in before.
I know I said Twilight can kiss my ass last week, but Tony nominee Anna Kendrick (who’s apparently a part of the vampire franchise) may turn heads the way she did in another comedy-drama, Up in the Air. She and Oscar winner Anjelica Huston stand out in a supporting cast that also includes Philip Baker Hall and Golden Globe nominee Bryce Dallas Howard. I guess my point with all this awards name-dropping is that 50/50 is wonderfully acted all-around, a crucial necessity to make both the film’s heavy and lighter topics compelling.
50/50 will show you that cancer can be funny. Its heart and soul will also show you that it’s a touching and endearing movie, too. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. The chances you’ll like it? 75/25 at least. 50/50 gets 3.5 out of 5 stars or B or Good.