Thursday 8 March 2012

Today's Review: 50/50

Is cancer funny? Pretty much no. Can it be portrayed in a semi-heartwarming and humorous way? Sure, there are plenty of dramatic comedies dealing with disease and death where people accept their fates and begin making wisecracks.

50/50 stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Adam, a guy who finds out he has a rare form of spinal cancer and has a 50% chance of survival. Understandably he's not too happy with that, but with his best friend Kyle (Seth Rogen) in tow he starts to undergo his treatment, forming new relationships, severing others, and strengthening old ones along the way.

I'd heard good things about this movie. I was expecting it to be quite groundbreaking in that it actually sounded like I was going to laugh my ass off at a movie about cancer. That wasn't quite the case, which may be a good thing, because I might have looked like a monster. 50/50 is one of those dramatic comedies that mostly focuses on the disease itself, the things it can do to relationships, and quirky observances that happen along the way. There's not too much of the vulgar, witty humour that I'm used to seeing coming out of Seth Rogen's mouth, it's all quite a calm and understated affair.

I think that's where the main problem lies. 50/50 is quite a slow paced movie. Sure, things happen, and treatment for cancer can be a drawn out process, but I did find myself losing interest at several points throughout. Thankfully Joseph Gordon-Levitt is as excellent as he always is, and he managed to keep me engaged long enough to finish it. There are strong performances from the rest of the cast too, but the slow plot doesn't help them really exhibit their best characteristics. 50/50 is certainly not a bad movie, but I think I was just expecting too much from it. It's still a heartwarming, realistic drama, but the comedy element that has been much touted really isn't all that present.

My rating: 3/5

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