Movie Grade: B+
Seth Rogen refuses to let the cancer-comedy die. After “Funny People” got good reviews, but cold box office reception, he now returns with this loosely-based true story written by his friend Will Reiser, who also happens to be the subject of the movie.
Joseph Gordon Leavitt gives one of the years best performances as Adam, who finds out he has a malignant tumor on his spine. The news shocks both him, his mother (Angelica Huston), girlfriend (Bryce Dallas Howard), and best friend, Kyle (Rogen, playing the kind of crude but loveable lug he always does).
Helping him cope on his journey through treatments (as well as with his overbearing mother and cheating girlfriend) is Kyle and Katherine (Anna Kendrick), an overwhelmed but sweet and very cute upstart therapist.
Leavitt is fantastic here, playing a character trying to stay positive in the face of everything in his life being thrown into doubt. He’s been on his way to getting award consideration for a while now and this time he seems like a lock.
The movie is also very funny as Adam shares some pot brownies with other chemo patients, shaves his head, and both he and Kyle negotiate the tricky situation of using cancer to get laid.
There is a really good bromance here (Rogen gets the best lines in the film), a cute little romance between Leavitt and Kendrick, and a beautifully portrayed third act where the supporting cast really shines. “50/50” is a balancing act that works wonderfully; a brave, funny, well-written, and extremely moving film.