Chemotherapy isn’t funny. Young people diagnosed with cancer isn’t funny, either. And yet today, I bring you “50/50,” a comedy about just those subjects
Rated R and now on DVD, the film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a 27-year-old man who is diagnosed with cancer and told his chances for survival are about even. Angelica Houston plays his fretting mother, and Bryce Dallas Howard is his artist girlfriend who seems supportive but won’t go to any of his medical appointments with him, choosing instead to drop him off at the curb.
The wild card in the cast is Seth Rogen, famous for raucous films like “Knocked Up” and “Superbad.” He’s the best friend and co-worker who always says exactly what he’s thinking. He’s a nut, but as the film unfolds, he proves to be the best support a man could have.
Lastly, the delightful Anna Kendrick plays the inexperienced therapist expected to help the young patient as things get bleak.
If the word “comedy” brings you visions of slapstick routines and silly scenarios, then don’t call “50/ 50” a comedy. It’s a drama that happens to be incredibly heartfelt and laugh-out-loud funny.
The principals in the cast all bring strong work to the table. Gordon-Levitt handily carries the film, and Rogen is obnoxious and cuddly. Houston shines, while Howard reminds us that she can play a villain anywhere, anytime, anyplace. And though Kendrick has played this sort of role before and is a bit typecast, she’s still my hero and the type of girl I’d prefer to be over many other female leads.
All in all, “50/50” is the best film I’ve seen this year.
I’m a fan!
You may have heard that a daring, young, real-life cancer patient used a YouTube video to ask Gordon-Levitt out on a coffee date. (Which, I might add, I sorta, kinda did first — during my review of “Inception,” when I asked the young man to call me. I’m just sayin’.)
But you might be wondering how the actor responded — to her, not to me.
Well, unfortunately, he was filming this summer’s “The Dark Knight Rises” at the time and kind-of missed it. He has yet to answer her.