by Rick Grant
This movie maintains a fine balance between comedy and drama, effectively orchestrated by director Jonathan Levine with a screenplay by Will Reiser. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Adam, a writer who pens scripts for radio. He’s laid-back and happy with his girlfriend Rachael (Bryce Dallas Howard). His best friend is Kyle, who is rough around the edges but a loyal friend.
When Adam goes in for a routine check-up, his doctor finds a rare cancerous tumor on his spine. The doctor’s insensitive monologue about Adam’s illness leaves him in shock, with more questions than answers. The doctor puts Adam on a regimen of chemo-therapy and radiation.
Adam is spending time getting chemo-therapy with two older gentlemen, who have the best medical marijuana and baked-in-pot cookies in the hospital. But, clearly, Adam is very sick from the chemo.
Kyle is there to cheer up Adam by convincing him to go out to pick up women after girlfriend Rachael dumps him. His bald head is a hit, but when he tells two young women that he has the best grade of medical marijuana, that gets the girls to go home with the two “wild and crazy guys.”
Meanwhile, Adam is seeing a young graduate student, Katie (Anna Kendrick) for therapy. Kendrick is a stand out in this stellar cast. She is a gifted actress who won a Tony award and was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance with George Clooney in “Up in The Air.”
The movie does not reveal Adam’s outcome until the end. This also keeps the tension high. Indeed, Adam’s cancer is a reminder of everyone’s mortality. Anything can happen to anyone, anytime. The story suggests that you should act on your feelings of love for someone as soon as possible and get rid of people who betray you, like Adam’s former girlfriend, Rachael, who came crawling back.
50/50 Movie Review
by Rick Grant