Sean K. Cureton

50/50 Flys but Doesn’t Soar

In Movie Reviews: 2011 on October 5, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Theatrical Poster

3 out of 4 stars
Directed by Jonathan Levine

50/50, the new movie from director Jonathan Levine, whose only other feature film at this point in time is the stupendous 2008 release of The Wackness, is a movie that is at least interesting, if not mind-blowing, at least entertaining, if not revolutionary, and will be sure to make you laugh and cry even though the bottom line is that the movie is completely predictable from start to finish.

Based on the actual real life experiences of screenwriter Will Reiser, the film follows the path taken by Adam, who is played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, as he confronts and battles with a rare-form cancer diagnosis. Adam’s best friend Kyle, who in real life was Seth Rogen, and is played in the film by Rogen, helps Adam along the way. The rest of the film is fairly conventional from this point on as far as Dramatic Comedies go, in that Adam’s existence is challenged in funny and tragic ways, and he ultimately comes out on top in the end, and beats the cancer.

While the film is certainly entertaining, and is well performed, it still seems to fall short in the fact that it is so predictable. It’s a good film, but not a great one. Yet at the same time, one finds oneself viewing the film with a certain expectation of where the movie is going to go, and that seems perfectly fine given the fact that the movie is executed quite well for the film that it is. On the other hand, when you think of the fact that the same director who directed this film also directed 2008’s The Wackness, you are forced to acknowledge the fact that while this film worked, it did not offer the same sort of challenge that The Wackness did. While this movie is entertaining and well done, it simply lacks a sort of power to grab its viewer so strongly that the viewer will carry the film around with them after the credits roll.

In conclusion, 50/50 is a good, standard fare Dramatic Comedy that will be sure to please fans of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen, as they truly shine in this film. However, it is not a film that will exceed one’s expectations or challenge its audience. Instead, 50/50 offers a pretty good semi autobiographical script, which is edited into a decent film by a talented director, and sometimes that is all that is necessary.


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