Although it doesn’t add much in theme or observation to the overlooked Funny People (which goes into all sorts of interesting areas in its second half that this film only hints at with the last line), 50/50 is perhaps more melancholy than you’d expect for a comedy-drama, even one about cancer. The gradual pace does the job of putting you in the experience, your life turned upside down. Fair enough – the film was based on writer Will Reiser’s own experience, and Rogen – playing a similar supporting friend role as in Funny People – genuinely was Reiser’s supporting friend.
The execution was good – not always as economical as you’d like, but always felt (heart or elsewhere). Gordon-Levitt does a nice job of making Adam relatable but not completely sympathetic, and Rogen brings big laughs with some killer one-liners. The rest of the cast is somewhat solid – Bryce Dallas Howard, Anna Kendrick and Anjelica Huston as the women in Adam’s life, and in particular I was pleased to see Watchmen‘s Matt Frewer and the always excellent Philip Baker Hall show up as fellow cancer patients.
There are some truly touching moments in this film and with smarter, sharper storytelling it could have been outstanding. But there was very little in the way of actual weak links, and deciding on whether the movie is worth your time is far from a 50/50.