Friday, January 25, 2013

50/50 (2011)

For the most part I think Seth Rogen is an over rated actor. To me almost always just misses, especially when he is in aproject he was involved in on a technical level (Green Hornet anyone?). Occasionally he’ll find a role that is dead on perfect for him. Such is the case with his role in the film 50/50, where he is playing pretty much himself.

Based upon writer and Rogen’s best friend Will Reiser's story of his run in with schwannoma neurofibrosarcoma. The cancer is extremely deadly and the title comes from his chances for survival.

Joseph Gordon Levitt plays Reiser, or at least his cinematic counterpart. He’s a sweet guy who is chugging along with life until he’s derailed by the diagnosis of cancer. In Quick succession his life becomes complicated some old friends leave (his girlfriend goes),he makes new friends and he deals with the mental anguish of suddenly having to look at the potential end of his existence. Of course there are upsides, one being a cute nurse who he seems to click with and the other is his best friend played by Rogen. Rogen is a teddy bear of a guy and exactly the sort of friend you want in your corner. He doesn’t like the prospect of losing his friend or dealing with some of what he has to deal with but he signed the buddy pact so he knows he’s there for the long haul. If this is the way he is in real life I completely understand why he has such a good rep in Hollywood.

The film is a rather real look at illness and the people around us when we get sick. Its not all fun and flowers, nor is it gloom and doom either. Things are funny and sad (such as one of the chemo guys succumbs) but always life goes on.

I know when this film came out in 2011 it got largely good reviews and quietly made some money. The film then disappeared off the radar for a while. For me it reappeared when friends at the office started to stumble on it on cable. Apparently they are coming into the film unaware of what it is, getting hooked and discovering a new favorite film. When I ask them why they didn’t see the film earlier they say that they thought it was going to be overly sad and maudlin, but seeing some of the exchanges between Levitt and Rogen they became hooked. I asked them why they would think that since it was the directors story, and they said because they sometimes change things to make it more dramatic.

Its not overly sad or maudlin, its funny and life affirming

See it and feel good.

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