DVD Review - 50/50

Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Adam, an editor at a radio station, maybe a NPR station. He's 27-years-old and living in Seattle. He gets diagnosed with cancer. After that are the predictable scenes of someone dealing with cancer. Its problem is that it's so ordinary. There is nothing remarkable here.

Anjelica Huston co-stars as Adam's mom who does what a mom would predictably do or say in this situation. Seth Rogen (Knocked Up) also co-stars as Kyle, but he might as well as be called Seth because Rogen is his usual persona, which is loud and obnoxious, a horndog who makes frequent pop culture references. Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air) plays Adam's psychiatrist. Within two seconds, you see exactly where Adam and the psychiatrist are going.

The only wrinkle is Bryce Dallas Howard who plays Adam's girlfriend, Rachael. She doesn't really want to be with Adam in light of the cancer but she doesn't want to leave him for complicated reasons, one probably being it would make her look bad. It was territory explored in Angels in America and I thought this film could take the opportunity to equally explore, but the screenwriter Will Reiser doesn't go deep with it.

Reiser doesn't really give Rachael much room. The movie remains in Adam's point-of-view, which helps to keep things accurate being that Reiser's screenplay is essentially a memoir, but it also makes his story seem boring. It's boring, especially since on the DVD commentary Reiser reveals that some reactions to his real-life cancer were a thousand times funnier or deeper than what's portrayed here.

Yes, it's slightly amusing, but it really doesn't give us anything more than what we've gotten about people dealing with cancer before in movies and on TV shows. A brilliant documentary on PBS called A Lion in the House (2006) dealt with childhood cancer. In the second season of HBO's In Treatment, a young girl around the age of Adam deals with cancer. Showtime's The Big C deals with a middle-age woman with cancer. These might be more worthy views than this.

Two Stars out of Five.
Rated R for language and sexual content.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 40 mins.


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