June 15, 2013

See this movie: 50/50

We had another great discovery on Video-on-Demand, 2011's acclaimed but little-seen comedy drama 50/50.

Based on a true story, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Adam, a normal healthy 27-year old surprised by cancer.

This news is delivered by a mumbling robotic doctor with horrible bedside manner. The healthy young man is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and given 50/50 chances  of survival: "if you were a casino game, those would be great odds."

Adam: A tumor?
Dr. Ross: Yes.
Adam: Me?
Dr. Ross: Yes.
Adam: That doesn't make any sense though. I mean... I don't smoke, I don't drink... I recycle...

His sarcastic best friend is played by Seth Rogen, who also produced the flick based on his friend's true story. At times 50/50 is about their bro-mance, how the goofy best friend grows up to be a supportive best friend... and yet stays goofy. And crude. And hilarious.

Kyle: You could have totally fucked the shit out of that girl.
Adam: No one wants to fuck me. I look like Voldemort.

Rogen's character uses the cancer to hit on girls for both of them, and provides the comic relief for the movie. Add in a squirm-inducing overbearing mother played by Anjelica Houston, and Pitch Perfect's Anna Kendrick as a new woman on the horizon, and you have a killer cast who all deliver.

I laughed out loud during this movie, from the oral sex jokes to the jokes about the women on The View... not the same joke, for which I am grateful. And I teared up several times like when the itchy girlfriend was a bitch, and when the pussyhound best friend was a mensch, when Adam says goodbye to his mom before surgery.

Adam: Why didn't we go to a barber?
Kyle: That would have been a good idea if we paid someone to do it.
Adam: Using your fucking balls trimmer instead of going to the barber.
Kyle: I never washed them, ever. It's not my balls, it's my asshole. I'm joking.
Adam: You're not joking.

If I determined the Oscar nominations -- and I should, by the way --- then 50/50 would have gotten nominations for Gordon-Levitt as best actor and Houston as best supporting actress. And maybe for Rogen and Kendrick in supporting roles too, and for screenplay and maybe even best film -- hey War Horse was nominated that year, and it blew.

This is a charming manipulative feel-good comedy drama about cancer. And it totally works -- see it.