50/50 review

A weepie for people who don’t watch weepies

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Adam is living a normal, late-twenties life that are the stuff of Apatow-era comedies. He’s making progress in his job at a radio station and he’s just given his long-term girlfriend her own drawer. Then something very much not in the normal run of things for a 27-year-old happens; he gets diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

He must face his own imminent mortality with only the help of his wise-cracking friend Kyle (Seth Rogen) and Dr McKay (Anna Kendrick), a therapist so green she doesn’t even get a Doogie Howser reference.

50/50 is a very different beast. Which is not to say you should leave the tissues at home. Jonathan Levine’s film will get you, all right, but it’ll get you with uniformly excellent performances, a moving and well-deployed soundtrack and, most impressive of all, genuine emotional truths.

That’s probably because a lot of it actually is true. Screenwriter Will Reiser really was diagnosed with cancer in his twenties (he was actually 24) and Seth Rogen was the real-life annoying friend at his side.

With nary a Judd Apatow credit in sight on his future CV, it looks like Rogen has finally broken out on his own.

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