50/50 review

Dude gets cancer and has lady problems. Talk about bad timing! Romcoms? Old hat. Bromance? That was so last year. So what’s the new hip subgenre? Cancer Comedy! Yay! Um.

The ending to such a dubious prospect was never going to be satisfactory (I’ll lay it out there; he either lives or he dies) but the journey there, while liberally injected with humour, is treated with satisfactory compassion. The heart of the film, and its greatest success, though, is the relationship between the two leads - their chemistry fizzes. Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s difficult performance as the cool, calm cancer kid is superb, both in terms of the emotions he conveys and his comic delivery and he is brilliantly contrasted by Seth Rogen’s brash, loud character, which, although familiar, provides riotously hilarious moments.

There’s no avoiding that this is a slick production in fine Hollywood style. And it’s too slick, too polished, really. A lower budget, rough-around-the-edges affair with less shiny stars would have greater potential to be deeper, bolder, more moving and, dare I suggest, even funnier. But it doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not and perhaps the only major surprise is that it works so well.

3 out of 5

24th Nov 2011 | Official site | On IMDb