October 15, 2011

50/50-AMC 34th Street 14

Erica: We did a double feature, weird disease Sunday (we saw Contagion right after). I don't know if it was because it was a holiday weekend, but the audience seemed 'patriotic' and wasn't rowdy (although I would hope people would behave themselves in a movie like this). We bring you 50/50.

Mike: Even though most of them are 80s/90s movie-of-the-week weepies, there have been a few good films about cancer. 50/50 can be added to that list. I think it's tough for a movie about a subject like cancer to succeed because it needs to walk a fine line. It's easy to go for cheap cries, but today's audiences are turned off by easy sentimality and they're more aware of how and when their emotions are manipulated. But how can a movie about a subject like cancer not be sentimental? 50/50 doesn't try to - it's about a young guy getting cancer after all, and there are few things more depressing and less funny than a young guy getting cancer. 50/50 succeeds by adding plenty of witty dialogue and humor while showing what the main character has to go through to survive. It's a cancer movie for the Gen X and Y generations.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has proven to be a capable actor in a handful of films over the last few years and here proves that he can carry a mainstream feature. Seth Rogen, who I usually don't care for too much but can be funny at times, has his presense in the film carefully dosed. He's there when the laughs are needed, but not too much. Just right.

In fact, 50/50 is way better than Rogen's last cancer movie, the painfully unfunny hodgepodge that was Funny People. 50/50 is way more streamlined and focused.

Rogen is usually annoying in his films. I was a fan of his on Freaks and Geeks, but never thought he can carry an entire movie (see: Green Hornet) so I was pleasantly surprised that he was not in this entire movie. I think they did a great job of making the most of a terrible situation. While the movie was sad, which is expected, as it is a movie about a guy in his late 20's diagnosed with a rare form of cancer based on a true story, they added humor to the mix. Levitt is a good actor, leading man he is not but he did well enough to carry the movie without Rogen providing comic relief in every scene. 

I think Mike was being nice with what he said about Funny People. It was more like 'Unfunny People', where you didn't care about the characters. In 50/50 you care about the characters and want Levitt to pull through.

I highly recommend this movie. You will laugh, there is a 50/50 chance you may cry, but you will not regret watching 50/50. 

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