Cancer is poor topic for a comedy, but then again, humor has always served as tent pole for those suffocating under grief. 50/50 also isn’t your generic, “let’s get edgy” script, because its writer Will Reiser was actually diagnosed with spine cancer, and his real life friend, Seth Rogan, actually stood by him through the process. That kind of personal investment, supported by Joseph Gordan Levitt’s strung out performance and director Jonathan Levine’s (The Wackness) steady, but methodical pacing, makes the film float above The Hangover‘s that have defined “good” comedy at the box office of late. There’s still plenty of dark humor and “did they just go there” moments for laughs and even 50 / 50‘s depiction of such a terrible disease is lacquered with plenty of Hollywood sheen, but its more introspective message is what winds up sticking with you after the credits have rolled.
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