50/50 can be pretty good odds in a lot of things. Like having a baby of the desired gender. Or the odds of landing a job. And a baseball player who could produce hits at that ratio would be the greatest to ever play the game. But the chance of surviving an illness, well that’s a different story. Adam Lerner’s (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) life would be considered better than 50% good. He’s 27 with a job he likes, a girlfriend he loves and good friends. On the down side but not enough to make his existence more bad than good is the fact that Adam’s father has Alzheimer’s and his mother who takes care of his father still has enough time to interfere in Adam’s life.
Things change radically for Adam when he discovers that the back discomfort he experiences is really a large malignant tumor which has set up residence on his spine. Things change in other ways as well. His girlfriend Rachel (Bryce Dallas Howard) says she’s with him for the long haul – but she’s really not. His best friend, Kyle (Seth Rogen) tries to cheer him up by listing the names of famous people who survived cancer and includes Patrick Swayze who of course died of it. Adam decides to get counseling only to be assigned to someone who is still just a student.
50/50 is partially entertaining and is a perfect “Rent It”. It’s thought provoking and amusing and also a great film to watch at home. Adam is a sympathetic character which is important for the audience to emotionally bond with him. He’s a good guy but the writers don’t make him artificially nice or a candidate for sainthood. Kyle, his best friend, is authentic as a young guy trying his best to be supportive but is not exactly sure how to handle his friend’s illness.
The film drags a bit during the middle portions as the story follows Adam through counseling and adjusting to the situation.
50/50 was set in Seattle, though filmed exclusively in Vancouver, British Columbia.
As to our Cast Diversity Rating, this film gets a “D-”. It’s one of the least diverse films I have seen in a long time. Adam’s surgeon is an Asian woman but other than that there are almost no people of color in this film.
50/50 is good film, with well developed characters but not a movie you have to be in a hurry to see. Wait and rent it.
50/50 is 99 minutes in length and rated “R” for language throughout, sexual content and some drug use.