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50/50
USA 2011
Directed by Jonathan Levine
Running time 100 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars


50/50 is a would-be offbeat rom-com designed to appeal to a 20-30-something audience. The story concerns Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a 27-year old radio producer living with his artist girlfriend, Rachael (Bryce Dallas Howard), who discovers that he has a life-threatening cancer.

In the lead Joseph Gordon-Levitt is appealing in a puppy-dog kind of way as the young man inexplicably struck by cancer. Less effective is Seth Rogen as his best friend, Kyle. It's really just Seth Rogen doing his usual potty-mouthed thing and it feels like he has been cut out of another movie. And Bryce Dallas Howard's Rachael is just there to encourage our sympathies for Adam and has no real substance. Similarly, Anna Kendrick as Adam’s counsellor is the awkard but good-hearted girl the female audience can identify with.

It's a tidy four-hander (with a small role for Angelica Huston) in the quirky style but it is also overly comfortable in its unfolding, determined more by the conventions of mainstream American cinema than any desire to grapple with the realities of its subject (the rate of Adam's recovery from major surgery is simply breath-taking) or push its material in any way. It's pleasant enough but that's all it is.

 

 

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