Right now comedy is where everything is happening in movies. Dramas are dramas, and action movies are lost in 3-D hell, but comedy filmmakers are trying new things, expanding the form to include bigger chunks of life, aspects of the human experience seemingly ineligible for comic treatment. And so we get "50/50," about a 27-year-old guy who gets cancer.
Comedy-Drama. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen and Anna Kendrick. Directed by Jonathan Levine. (R. 99 minutes. At Bay Area theaters.) The story takes place in the chilly Northwest. These two characters work together at a local public radio station. They're best friends, but total opposites. Adam is an anal-retentive risk adverse good guy, who doesn't smoke, drink, drive or do anything dishonest, except occasionally field calls from his over protective mother, played by Anjelica Huston.
Rogen's character Kyle, on the other hand, is a loud, obnoxious, pot-smoking freeloader who likes trolling bars for chicks. These two make a good pair, however odd it might be. And, when things get rough -- and they often do with advanced cancer -- Kyle is there to bring the laughs that Adam most undoubtedly needs.
The audience needs them, as well, as this is an emotional journey through the rise and fall of not only an illness, but a friendship, too. The comedy is good, but not over-the-top. Hard core fans of Rogen will delight in seeing him give a great performance but may be disappointed that the laughs are sometimes more bittersweet than downright hilarious.
The supporting cast includes Bryce Dallas Howard, the gorgeous, but love-to-hate girlfriend who feels "bad" about breaking up with a guy with cancer. Not that bad, mind you. She's delightfully fun as the inevitable she-villain.
Bottom line is that 50/50 is Honest, real and funny, a charming romance with a whole lot of heart.