Acting under the cover of a Hollywood producer scouting a location for a science fiction film, a CIA agent launches a dangerous operation to rescue six Americans in Tehran during the U.S. hostage crisis in Iran in 1980.
Adam is a 27 year old writer of radio programs and is diagnosed with a rare form of spinal cancer. With the help of his best friend, his mother, and a young therapist at the cancer center, Adam learns what and who the most important things in his life are. Written by
How does a filmmaker combine humor and drama in a story about a 27 year old man diagnosed with cancer? Easy: Just give them equal measure with the title 50/50 -- light treatment of a dark subject.
Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has to deal not only with his own emotions when he is diagnosed, but also those of a close friend, Kyle (Seth Rogen), an inveterate partier and ribald quipper, and his chronically worrisome mother (Anjelica Huston). Losing his girlfriend, Rachael (Bryce Dallas Howard) along the way adds to the potential downbeat.
Yet director Jonathan Levine and writer Will Reiser keep it all as upbeat as possible, not in small part due to Rogen's constantly funny chatter, which comes at just the right times as the plot gets heavy with cancer surviving techniques (the film turns out to show the way to battle: with humor).
Of course, Rogen has had training playing a similar role in Funny People with Adam Sandler. No one plays a weed-smoking buddy better than he. Gordon-Levitt is also an actor who can just about better than anyone else play the soulful, endearing, slow-moving romantic as he did in (500) Days. As a cancer victim, he engages the audience in observation of a vulnerable hero, who fights with a serenity and equanimity that could be a model for those wishing to survive and those who wish to help.
50/50 is a comedy with compassion, a distant cousin to the prevalent bromances that rarely treat the support men give each other in times of real danger. Usually it's vacuous women who supply that danger and significant support. Hooray for the men this time.
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