Saturday, October 22, 2011

50 / 50 (Rhoades)

It’s “50/50” You’ll Like This Film
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

This movie is about as funny as cancer. Wait, it is about cancer.

In “50/50” a 27-year-old guy in seeming excellent health (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is diagnosed with cancer. The doctors say he has a 50/50 chance of survival (hence the name of the film). His pal (funnyman Seth Rogan) tells him that’s better odds than he’d find in any casino.

Our guy isn’t so worried to begin with. He’s going through the stages – one being denial. He keeps trying to convince his fiancĂ© (Bryce Dallas Howard), his mom (Anjelica Huston), and his Alzheimer’s stricken dad (Serge Houde) that he’s okay.

In fact, his pal (Rogan) helps him work on using cancer as a pick-up line. No, it doesn’t go so well.
He sees an inept therapist (Anna Kendrick) and hangs out with snarky old chemo patients (Philip Baker Hall and Matt Frewer).

Does he survive? You’ll have to see for yourself. And have a few guilty laughs along the way. But the film is loosely based on the experience of screenwriter Will Reiser, so that may give you a clue.

“50/50” is playing the odds this week at the Tropic Cinema.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a very talented actor. From “Inception” to TV’s inane “Third Rock From the Sun” to “(500) Days of Summer” to “50/50” he holds your attention with his timed delivery.

And former “Green Hornet” Seth Rogan is best at playing second banana – with the possible exception of his brilliant co-starring self-parody in “Pineapple Express.”

In “50/50” the two play off each other well, especially the scene where Gordon-Levitt shaves his head with the electric razor Rogan uses for shaving body hair from his, uh, dangling nether regions.

You could call this a brave comedy. Does the fact that James McAvoy dropped out of the lead role make him a coward? Or merely a cancer survivor?

srhoades@aol.com
[from Solares Hill]

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