I had to drag myself to see 50/50. I mean, did I really want to see a movie where Joseph Gordon Levitt battles cancer? Especially when the film was (dubiously) dubbed a comedy?
Man, am I glad I went. It’s almost impossible to overstate how lovable a film this is. It’s endearing, clever, moving, and, yes, funny. A cancer film for the rest of us.
Part of what makes 50/50 so good, and so totally grounded in a recognizable reality, is the fact that it was written by Will Reiser, a young comedy writer who himself was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 27 (he’s now in remission). Reiser had the good fortune to be close friends with actor/writer Seth Rogen, who plays Kyle—essentially a fictionalized version of himself—in the film.
50/50 doesn’t fall into the trap of so many cancer films: Just because Gordon Levitt’s Adam has cancer, it doesn’t make him a saint, it doesn’t make him a deeper, more profound human being. He’s just a regular guy dealing with a seriously messed up situation.
So how do a couple of young, funny, hip guys deal when one of them gets cancer? They smoke a lot of weed, make a lot of gallows jokes, and, at Kyles’s urging, attempt...