JT Film Review

127 – 50/50 (2011)

50/50 Review

4/5 stars

Director – Jonathan Levine

Cast – Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Gordon, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard, Angelica Huston, Serge Houde


A cancer comedy? ……..really? Well, kinda, yes.

50/50 follows Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character, Adam, as he deals with the fact he has cancer. His friend Kyle (Seth Rogen) is his main support, but he looks also to his girlfriend Rachel (Bryce Dallas Howard) and his young therapist Katie (played admirably by Anna Hendricks). His mother (Angelica Huston) tries to help, but Adam finds her unhelpful, and his father has an advanced form of Alzheimers, and doesn’t remember who Adam is.

His girlfriend cheats on him… that would be a hard pill to take under any circumstances. Kyle witness it and provides proof to Adam while Rachel is in the room, in a hilarious scene that is one of the movie’s best.

As I think about that scene, it seems to me that the comedy in the movie seems mainly to stem from Rogen’s character. He definitely is funny here, but to give him all the credit for this films comedy would be to undervalue the naturalist comedy we get from Godron-Levitt and Hendricks. In other words, Rogen may get he dick-jokes, but the richness in personality and humanity come from the interaction between Adam and Katie. You come for Rogen, stay for the “romance”.

An interesting point is that the character of Adam is a very reactive one. He is someone whom things happen to, and the movie mainly deals with how he deals with the difficult events he encounters. At first this bugged me, I must admit. I wanted Adam to go out and initiate some plot points, to start some stuff himself. Then I realized that this is the strength of the movie; as this is the very nature of cancer it only makes sense to have the character reactionary. When it comes to cancer, there is not much one can do… just go with it and hope.

50/50 is really a “dramedy” I suppose, mixing Seth Rogen style yucks with some fairly serious drama. Cancer is a serious matter of course, and some people may have been turned off by the identification of this as a “cancer comedy”. One can’t really blame them. They needn’t worry here, though, as cancer is treated with respect, but its own type of respect. The way this movie treats cancer is the same way these guys do… they avoid talking about it, and if they do they laugh about it. It is its own way of dealing with things, but not a less valid one.


50/50 is a dramedy that deals well with potentially problematic subject matters. Rogen is funny, Gordon-Levitt is grounded, and Hendricks is awesome. I would recommend this to almost everyone, as long as they can take a bit of Rogen-style comedy.



“50/50” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia



November 12, 2011 Posted by | 4 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Comedy, Year - 2010-2019 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment