Saturday, July 30, 2011
Not having read the synopsis before screening, it came as much as a surprise to me to hear Adam (Gordon-Levitt) had cancer, as it did for the character. The working title to this film had been "I'm with Cancer", had that remained the title, instead of 50/50 (reference to his chances of beating the disease), I would have been clued in to know to bring some tissues.
Although, it turns out the film delivers more tears from laughter than from sadness, due to Seth Rogen's quick quips, improvisation and juvenile outlook on life in general.
Adam is a writer/editor for radio, he's a nice guy, keeps in shape, earnest about not being late for work; tries to achieve perfection on even a 2 second spot; and is extremely understanding of his artist girlfriend (Bryce Dallas Howard ) who hasn't had sex with him for 2 months.
Having gone to the doctor with a complaint of minor back pain, it of course comes as a complete shock to Adam to be diagnosed with a rare form of spinal cancer. After this monumental revelation, you expect the film to take on either an overly sentimental journey about life and love; become a Bucket List quest or a "I've got nothing to lose" scenario like Queen Latifah in Last Holiday. It does none of that; but rather, keeps a steady pace. He doesn't go looking for specialists, although this would be the preference of his slightly overbearing mother, played by Angelica Huston. He accepts the hospital offered counselor, a 24 year-old newbie (Anna Kendrick) working on her doctorate with only two former patients under her belt.
In fact, it's Adam's acceptance, well, perhaps acceptance isn't quite the right word, but his ordinariness, that strikes a chord. Not everyone goes on a spiritual journey or completely falls apart when faced with the dreaded "C" word. Some people just follow the course set by their doctors and find themselves just dealing with it day to day.
Thankfully, measured with all of it, is a healthy dose of pop-culture references and a humorous and well-written bromance between Adam and Kyle.
50/50 directed by Jonathan Levine is not set to hit theaters until September 30, 2011.