Movie review: 50/50

Brad Keefe, Columbus Alive

I'm not sure about the five stages of grief, but I definitely went through some distinct stages of "like" with the cancer comedy "50/50."

I liked it … then I didn't like it … then I really, really liked it. It's actually a hell of an emotional ride, and one that I recommend you take.

When 27-year-old Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, he's understandably shocked. "I don't smoke, I don't drink … I recycle," he says in bewilderment.

He copes with the news as best he can, with help from his best friend Kyle (Seth Rogen), his girlfriend (Bryce Dallas Howard) and a hospital-appointed therapist-in-training (Anna Kendrick).

Cancer comedies? Well, they're tricky business. "50/50" is maybe not as funny as it could be, but damn if it didn't get this hardened critic's waterworks flowing a bit.

Screenwriter Will Reiser based his script in part on his own battle with cancer. Director Jonathan Levine ("The Wackness") loses focus a bit in the middle act, but it finishes so strong, it's forgivable.

Gordon-Levitt really has the chops for the lead. He can do funny and grieving. Rogen is Rogen, but there's nothing wrong with that.

Even when it gets a bit saccharine, I was on board. It's like "(500) Days of Cancer" at times, but I laughed. And, yeah, I cried.


Opens Friday

3 1/2 stars out of 4