I may be imagining this, but when this came out, I somehow remember people talking about how 50/50 figured out a way to “make cancer funny.” I don’t think this is quite right– the cancer still is very unfunny, it’s just that there are some funny things going on around it. The cancer is still awful.
The funny is very funny. Mostly thanks to Seth Rogen. You can dislike the guy if you want, but I wouldn’t recommend it. I remember seeing him in “Freaks and Geeks” and wondering what in the world was up with that guy (why is he talking that way?). He has a style that is distinct and a sense of timing that seems spontaneous (can it be?). I like him. He goes blue really well.
I also like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, but I kind of felt like he didn’t quite get there, here. He can be excellent, but, for me, he was the least memorable part of this movie. Tough role to play.
I also didn’t love them injecting the love interest storyline with Gordon-Levitt and Anna Kendrick’s therapist. It felt tossed in (Amy called it instantly) and too Hollywood. I realize this is a semi-autobiographical story, so maybe the screenwriter really did fall for his therapist, but just because something happened in real life doesn’t mean it should be in a movie (we must have learned that by now). I doubt it really happened, though. Felt more like, “where’s the girl? We need a girl!”
Also, that’s the most you’re ever going to see me complain about Anna Kendrick in anything. She’s fantastic.
These are small problems. I sometimes make it sound like my complaints are bigger than they really are. This is a funny, touching movie, and I liked it a lot. It was great to see Matt Frewer, and also Philip Baker Hall, who is actually finally starting to look a little older after looking the same age (still old, but slightly less old) for a very long time. Anjelica Huston has become very, very good at playing a mother (between this and Darjeeling Limited). Cancer must be a very hard thing to make a movie about, and especially a movie that’s not schmaltzy, and 50/50 threads that needle well.
Also, they work for a public radio station. Natch. Hippies.