"50/50" couldn't have a better title.
It's the tale of two movies. The first half is inexplicably awkward, strangely timed, and not nearly as funny as it tries to be.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character Adam is told he has cancer by the worst mannered doctor in history. This doctor doesn't even bother to look Adam in the eye. He doesn't even TELL HIM HE HAS CANCER. Instead he speaks into a voice recorder and talks about Adam's cancerous mass in all kinds of technical doctor talk. Time to get a new doctor (that's if you have a PPO, of course).
Seth Rogen plays Kyle, Adam's co-worker and best friend. I kept waiting for Adam to make a crack about how it's so hard to work with the guy from "Pineapple Express." Rogen is so ON, it's hard to believe anybody, let alone the sweet Adam, would choose to be friends with him.
But we all have a few friends like that, don't we? They're the friend that other people in your life wonder why you're friends with them. They're also the friend that you will call first when you find yourself in trouble, because you know they'll be there when you need them most.
Like real-life cancer, the last half of "50/50" puts everything into perspective. The little things that annoy you in life suddenly start to drift out of the picture. By the time the film gets to its clamactic scene, I found myself doing my best to stop the floodgates from opening.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a perfect leading man for a movie like this. He's a likeable blank canvas, surrounded with all kinds of dynamic characters that complement him well.
Besides Rogen, Anjelica Houston plays Adam's caretaking mother who doesn't take no for an answer. Bryce Dallas Howard is Adam's 50/50 girlfriend, and Anna Kendrick is the therapist everybody knows would be perfect in her place.
I loved "50/50." Without the not-as-effective front half, the second wouldn't have been nearly as powerful. When Adam says a few words to his Alzheimer's inflicted father (yes, Alzheimers makes another supporting appearance in a 2011 movie), I stopped thinking about how the film was manipulating my emotions.
For whatever reason, it just felt good to cry.
"50/50" is a touching dramedy. It earns a Leshock Value of $9 out of a possible $10.