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Ten Word or Less Review: Getting cancer sucks.

Not perfect but at the least very respectable, 50/50 gets into the painful experience of living with cancer at a young age.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt is Adam, a pleasant and affable guy who works for public radio but who isn’t a pretentious hippy.  One day he finds out he has a rare and aggressive form of cancer on his spine.  His tidy, burgeoning, little world is no more.  Adam begins chemo and quickly begins to suffer the ravages of the therapy.  He shaves his head to avoid the gradual hair loss, pukes often, and has little stamina for staying out when friends beckon.   For support Adam has a dog named Skeletor, a good time seeking best friend (Seth Rogan), and an inexperienced therapist (Anna Kendrick) to help get him through the terrifying ordeal.  Add to his trauma a girlfriend (Bryce Dallas-Howard) who’s exposed as a selfish cheat, a father with advanced Alzheimer’s and a mother (Angelica Huston) who flirts with being a basket case and you have a pretty well rounded drama.

Gordon-Levitt continues to show that he has unassuming but noticeable range as a lead actor.  At just 30, Gordon-Levitt looks poised to have a career composed of a variety of unorthodox roles.  Being in Christopher Nolan’s stable of go to actors shouldn’t hurt anything either.  50/50 may require him to be the proto-typically ‘nice’ guy, but he’s great at portraying pathos, avoiding cliche or making cliche’s work when they do arise.  The only real drawback to lodge against 50/50 is Bryce Dallas-Howard.  Why this talented actress keeps landing in thankless, unflattering bitch parts is a mystery.  Her girlfriend role is two dimensionally manipulative and designed to be terrible almost from the start.  She feels like a very artificial element in an otherwise genuine movie.  Be sure to bring a hanky.

 

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