Adam (Gordon-Levitt) is 27 and he has a malignant mass developing in his back between L2-L5. After suffering considerable discomfort and back pain he seeks a doctor's opinion and the outlook is grim (he has a 50/50 chance of survival provided the tumor does not metastasize), at least according to a generic Google search. Fortunately this shocking and surprising news comes on the heels of his burgeoning relationship with Rachael (Bryce Dallas Howard) and his best friend Kyle's (Rogen) success.
Unfortunately, Rachael is at all times aloof and uninvolved while Kyle is dialed in and supportive in the most comical way imaginable. Kyle uses his friend's cancer to play the sympathy card with women while Rachael is unsupportive and promiscuous. No matter what the scenario, Kyle never abandons his friend while Rachael doesn't even hold her boyfriend's hand while he is vomiting from the chemotherapy. At the hospital Adam develops a wonderful rapport with two fellow chemo patients (Matt Frewer and Phillip Baker Hall) with a taste for adventure. His designated hospital psychiatrist (Anna Kendrick) is a doctoral student that is completely clueless about how to comfort the afflicted. There is of course his loving and terrified mother Diane (Anjelica Houston). Everyone in his support group is wonderful save his wishy-washy girlfriend.
The most touching moments are also the most hilarious. Three cancer patients of varying ages sharing pot macaroons, Adam shaving his beautiful head of hair with Kyle's electric asshole razor, and Kyle's intervention after Rachael swaps bodily fluids with artistic Jesus are my three favorites. The best part of 50/50 is that while it takes this deadly disease that impacts millions of Americans (including my mother who is now cancer free thank God), it does not present an ever-grim outlook. Writer Will Reiser and Director Jonathan Levine are human in that they present an honest portrait of grief and misery by combing and contrasting it with humor and friendship. 50/50 is a really great movie that any audience would be lucky to watch. Should 50/50 have been nominated for an Oscar? Absolutely not as it is more enjoyable and real than any film nominated by the wizards of condescension known as The Academy.
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