So this is what Summit Entertainment uses their “Twilight” money on. Allow it.
Rated R for language throughout, sexual content and some drug use.
Article first published as Movie Review: 50/50 on Blogcritics.
When you set your sights on Hollywood, it’s probably hard to keep your independent filmmaking cred in tact. Using Will Reiser’s autobiographical debut screenplay and enlisting the likes of stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen was the best choice for director Jonathan Levine. After cutting his teeth with “All the Boys Love Mandy Lane” and winning the Sundance Film Festival’s Audience Award in 2008 for “The Wackness,” it’s no surprise to see Levine dipping his toes in the Hollywood pool. And now he brings his best film yet with “50/50.”
horrendous “vampire” flicks she’s contracted into, along with the charming as ever Anjelica Huston, and Opie’s daughter Bryce Dallas Howard in a possible chance at winning Best Villain at next year’s MTV Movie Awards.
The story is simple: Adam (Gordon-Levitt) lives a life of abiding by the rules; he won’t even jog against street signs when there’s no traffic in sight on an early Seattle morning. He has just provided his artist girlfriend Rachael (Howard) her own drawer and relies on his best friend Kyle (Rogen) to drive him around when he’s not taking the bus. After a few weeks of consistent back pain, Adam finally heads to the doctor only to be diagnosed with schwannoma, i.e. cancer. He tells Kyle, whose reaction is that he may throw up, along with Rachael, who claims she’s going to stand by him when he presents her with the easy out. But he hesitates to inform his smothering mother Diane (Huston), whose already dealing with enough issues as his father Richard (Serge Houde) has Alzheimer’s.
If you’re not laughing one minute, you’ll be crying the next; at least in the final half hour. Thankfully the film never relies on simply cuing the violins or having the characters break into hysterics to pull the sentiment out of thin air. Here is a group of people you truly care about and want to see prevail against the odds. Even when Adam realizes that finally driving a car will have to make do as his Make a Wish. The cast plays like gangbusters and I won’t be surprised to see Gordon-Levitt nominated come Oscar time. Levine also has high chances as he pulls no punches with Reiser’s brilliantly self-deprecating yet emotionally brutally honest screenplay. I personally hope to see “50/50” nominated in at least four categories if not more. And I’d say if Reiser’s odds were that good, then so is the film’s. So far it’s definitely my personal pick for Best Picture.
Photos courtesy Summit Entertainment