Adam Lerner (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) doesnâ€™t take chances. Heâ€™s a paranoid 27-year-old who refuses to obtain a driverâ€™s license because â€œitâ€™s like the fifth leading cause of death.â€
But when he goes to a seemingly normal doctor visit, chance is forced upon him when it is discovered that he has a rare form of cancer.
Unable to fully grasp the news or the 50 percent chance of survival he is given, Adam loses focus of reality and stares into nothingness, searching for an answer.
It is emotionally moving scenes like this that set â€œ50/50â€ apart, where the audience is able to connect with the characters in the most simple and pure way.
The most notable connection is made with Gordon-Levitt, who takes these emotional moments and plays them out with beautiful melancholy.
As the film progresses through Adamâ€™s daunting recovery process, you feel invested in his relationships with the other characters, especially with his overprotective mother played by Anjelica Huston, and become extremely affected when these relationships are tested.
One scene in particular delves into Adamâ€™s relationship with his mother, culminating in a heartbreaking image of her trying to comfort him as he prepares to go into surgery.
Be sure to bring a tissue box, because the scenes in â€œ50/50â€ stir up a swarm of powerful emotions that come without warning.
Although the movie was advertised as a comedy-drama, most of the jokes in â€œ50/50â€ feel insensitive and out of place. Its subject matter is just too serious for Seth Rogen and his low-brow brand of bro comedy.
That being said, Gordon-Levitt and Rogen make a convincingly entertaining pair of friends, especially when they break out the flamethrower.
Based loosely on writer Will Reiserâ€™s own battle with cancer, â€œ50/50â€ has a very real, personal touch about it.
Nowadays, an authentic feel like this is hard to come by; take a chance on this one.
Movie reviewer Jason Berlinberg can be reached at email@example.com.