Steele’s Reels: Acting chemistry gives ‘50/50’ a chance

After complaining about minor back pains, Adam decides to have it checked out by his doctor. Expecting something minor due to his meticulously healthy and unadventurous life style, Adam is blindsided by the news that he is in fact living with a rare form of spinal cancer. After doing some research of his own, Adam comes to the conclusion that his chances of survival are 50 percent (hence the film’s title, “50/50”). The movie focuses on the life-changing trials facing the best friends while shifting eloquently from dramatic scenarios to comic relief. The plot draws significant emotion regarding the difficult topic from the film’s writing. The story is in fact the real life journey of the film’s writer, Will Reiser.

Like most dramedies, “50/50” is faced with the challenge of lacing the melancholy subject of cancer with feel-good situations of hope and humor. This film does an incredible job in that respect. The bromance between Rogen (“Pineapple Express”, “Knocked Up”) and Gordon-Levitt (“Inception”, “500 Days of Summer”) projects a chemistry rarely seen in Hollywood today. The acting and delivery of emotion were most definitely the film’s forte. The savvy directing of Jonathan Levine (“The Wackness”, “All The Boys Love Mandy Lane”) makes the film a roller coaster of feelings while still keeping the audience in an overall good mood. While you won’t be experiencing the ab-workout of laughter that comes from most of Rogen’s films, audiences will leave the theater with more than a few memorable quotes. My personal favorite: “She’s not gonna (expletive) me. I look like Voldemort!”

While the film was very enjoyable, it has one major (and I mean major) flaw. Pace. The plot absolutely crawls at times. So much that half of this movie could have been cut and you would have been left with a perfectly done short story. All in all, the film leaves you thinking about what is really important in life: friendship, love and laughter. Despite the sluggish pace, I still recommend this film for its feel-good moments and depth of the performances, especially if you have a loved one with cancer.

Steele’s Reels: 3.5/5 stars.