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50/50

by

Jeff Nelson

50/50 delivers even with setting high expectations. Definitely worth seeing.

50/50
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The topic of cancer is a touchy subject. Whenever a film centers around this matter, audiences are generally prepared for a tearjerker. 50/50 approaches it a bit differently. While it still has a strong emotional impact, a lot of humor is incorporated. I would identify this film as a comedy first and a drama second. The majority of this movie is aimed at making viewers laugh instead of cry.

Adam Lerner is an ordinary 27-year-old who enjoys life, but is diagnosed with cancer. He holds a 50-50 chance of survival as he faces his subsequent struggle to beat the disease. Without being too aware of the film, some viewers may assume that creating a motion picture about cancer and making it a comedy can be insensitive. Well, 50/50's humor is great and never comes across as insulting those with the illness. The screenplay begins just as any other flick with Seth Rogen would. The sexual humor is used often, but definitely will deliver a large number of laughs. As the second half of the script comes along, the drama elements become apparent. By this point in the film, I couldn't help but feel emotionally attached to Adam. This is where the tearjerker side shows its teeth. While I didn't shed a tear, I noticed multiple viewers in the theater crying. The only issue of 50/50's script is that the final act shows its Hollywood marks a bit too much. There's a predictable ending with what feels like forced resolutions.

This is truly an all-star cast. Joseph Gordon-Levitt performs as Adam and does an impeccable job. He delivers the drama just as well as he brings the laughs. He feels utterly natural and genuinely immerses the audience in his character. Joseph Gordon-Levitt gives what just may be one of his most natural representations he has ever delivered. Hopefully he continues his streak of outstanding performances. Seth Rogen plays his best friend, Kyle. Rogen is known for his humor and doesn't disappoint. Anna Kendrick is Adam's young therapist, Katherine. Even though viewers don't get to learn very much about her character, her performance certainly makes us feel closer to Katherine. Kendrick is funny and is a natural on screen. There aren't any poor actors to name as each one pulls his or her weight very well.

Even though 50/50 crosses into the tearjerker genre, the comedy gives a good amount of relief to give viewers more than just a drama. The characters are the driving point in this film as they are represented by a wonderful cast. The screenplay is well-written, as well. The movie had my attention from start to finish as my mind never began to wander off anywhere within the running time. I held high hopes after hearing good buzz about the film. 50/50 delivers even with setting high expectations. Definitely worth seeing.

My Rating = Four and One Half Stars

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