It's how so many successful comedies have made it to the silver screen - a meeting between where a writer pitches a producer with "hey, let's make a funny movie about cancer." And at first brush, it seems like a solid idea. After all, there weren't too many laughs in "Brian's Song," or that movie about whatever Lou Gehrig died of. The category is wide open! Think of the potential for a series, or at least, a pseudo-series starring new and different leads bringing their fascinating terminal diseases into our hearts and making us crack up at the weird medications and the strange changes to their bodies that go along with it.
"50/50" is a perfect example of the kind of comedy you don't ever want to see made, let alone watch in the theatre. I think by now we're all tired of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen trying to make it as serious actors. In fact, the only reason I got up off of my ass and plopped down my $12 to see "50/50" was because I thought I was going to get to watch Gordon-Levitt suffer for two hours.
How wrong I was. The main character's bout with cancer throughout "50/50" was nothing compared to the mental anguish I was forced to deal with as the 'plot' of this misguided medical morass unfolded before me. Here's a clue that your protagonist is insufferably boring: he works in public radio. Here's another hint: he's best friends with Seth Rogen, which is the relationship equivalent of dipping your balls in a boiling vat of oil while Sandra Bernhardt reads out Amy Winehouse's drink order in a falsetto. Too soon?
Even if you don't have a major personality conflict with either of the male leads in "50/50" there's plenty of other reasons to hate this terrible movie. Anyone who's ever been to a court-ordered therapy session will cringe at the touchy-feely, "I'm gonna fall in love with you and say fuck ethics" vibe broadcast by Anna Kendrick's portrayal of a mental health professional. At least in my world, the only time a therapist reaches out to caress my face is when we're both locked in weekend detox. Then there's Anjelica Huston's overbearing mother, a woman who takes her Alzheimer's-afflicted hubby with her everywhere she goes like some kind of over-medicated good luck charm. Oh how I envied his ability to forget - something my alien abductors promised me, but never delivered.
My recommendation to you is to skip "50/50" and make friends with someone who actually has cancer instead. The suspense involved in not knowing whether they will live or die, and then the pain of having to say your final goodbyes will undoubtedly be far less of a letdown than having to sit through this turd.
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