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“50/50” – EXTREMELY Early Review (POSITIVE)

August 10, 2011

Joesph Gordon-Levitt is really making a strong stand as the indie favorite. His constant appearence at Sundance, with some enticing and questionable movie choices, really makes him worthy choice actor for bigger movies. What, with “Inception” last year and returning to the Nolan-verse with a bad cop role in “The Dark Knight Rises”, it seems like the world is his oyster. So, here comes another indie dramedy about…a guy with cancer. It seems like a hit or miss in my oppinion, I saw the trailer months back and it grabbed my attention, but I was afraid it was going to be another “Funny People” (well it does co-star Seth Rogen) and in some ways, it is, but this movie has a better ending and it’s not 2 and a half hours long. Jonathan Levine (“The Wackness”) returns with this sophomoric film in his directing cannon and I have to say this is could be his best work yet.

The movie does it better than Judd Apatow’s “Funny People”, in the sense that it doesn’t stretch the jokes, the story, it’s character development so long & thin. “Funny People” was more of a fantasy film about a person dealing with cancer, while “50/50” is about the honesty.

The film follows Adam (Gordon-Levitt), a radio editor in Seattle, 27, healthy, has a relationship with a beautiful girl (Bryce Dallas Howard), has a best friend, Kyle, (Rogen) that’s always with him thick & thick, life seems good. Then Adam learns he has cancer, a rare form of cancer that is in the form of a tumor located in the lower region of his spinal cord. So, Adam now has to deal with it. He’s got Kyle along his side, trying to help him to not focus on the negative and more on the positive, his motto is to live every day like it’s your last, and you need to fuck any girl that crosses your path on that day & get wickedly blazed on medical marijuana. Adam’s girlfriend is distant about it, and Adam’s mother (Anjelica Houston) is a smothering worrisom mother who’s always calling about every little thing. Adam has a lot going on his is life, but in a strange way, there is a lighter side to all of it, and with the help of Kyle and a few others, he might get through it.

Lets face it, doing a comedy about someone with cancer is touchy subject matter, “Funny People” did ok, but it wasn’t as strong as this movie. Perhaps the authenticity of this movie comes from its screenwriter,Will Reiser. Will was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago and all he had were his best friends (Rogen being one of them) to guide him through such a emotionally and extremely physical rough journey. He was suggested to write a screenplay about his experiences, to help him get past all the anxiety. And, it worked. This movie was so rich with realism, that it made the comedy feel more organic. It’s one of those rarites where comedy & drama balances out perfectly. Think “Terms of Endearment”.

Joesphy Gordon-Levitt is terrific, he’s really that everyman that you just want to hang out with and shoot the shit. He’s charming, funny, serious, he can pretty much do anything. Seth Rogen, love him! Always! He’s freaking Seth Rogen, his comic timing is always on key, he can be really funny and when the time calls for it, he can tone it down and bring great emotional depth to a scene, I am not trying to make you laugh, but he’s really good in this movie. One of the hardest scenes to watch was when Adam, who’s never driven a car in his entire life, takes Rogen’s Kyle on a scary joy ride, and he basically has a meltdown. It’s just so intense, you’re taken back. But, the movie does have strong comedic undertones, like I said, it’s balanced quite nicely in this film.

A few friends of mine (Adam & Dean) at the advanced screening I attended said that the movie didn’t know what it was supposed to be, a comedy or a drama? It knew exactly what it was supposed to be, it was supposed to be real. It was authentic, and trueful, it didn’t treat the audience like children. We got the gods honest truth about a person living with cancer and how this person deals with it. “50/50” was an excellent movie, plain and simple. I enjoyed, I laughed and I even teared up, the ending gets really emotional, there wont be a dry eye in audience. It’s a movie that shouldn’t be missed come it’s September 30th release date. And I have to say it’s on my list of one of the best of 2011 has offered.

GRADE: A

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