50-50 refers to the chances of the lead character’s surviving his bout with cancer in the story behind this film. You can also see the title as the reference to “it takes a pair to beat the odd” as the cancer patient & his best friend going through the challenges together. The Johnathan Levine directed movie was written by Will Reiser, loosely inspired by his own experiences with cancer and stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen. An excellent supporting cast is rounded out by Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas-Howard, Matt Frewer & Anjelica Houston.
27 year old journalist Adam Lerner finds out that he has a rare form of cancer and must immediately start chemotherapy for it. His own research shows that he has a 50% chance of surviving the battle with the cancer. He first informs this to his girlfriend Rachel and his best friend / co-worker Kyle. It is obvious that Kyle disapproves of Rachel. Next Adam has to reveal his diagnosis to his overbearing mother Diane (played very effectively by Anjelica Houston) who already has to take care of a husband suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. But she says she wants to move in with him to help him through this time, although Adam rejects this as Rachael has promised to be the one to take care of him.
Adam also starts seeing a a therapist Katharine McKay (the very cute Anna Kendrick), who is young & inexperienced as Adam notes she doesn’t look old enough. Although their sessions starts of on a rocky basis and things are tense between them, he slowly starts to open up to her about his fears and how the disease is affecting him. The two develop a rapport both in and outside of their sessions, as the lines between doctor-patient and friends begins to blur. Adam also shaves his head in his bathroom with Kyle in tow and befriends two older fellow patients, Mitch & Alan, who he starts to hang out with during and outside of the hospital. Kyle sees Rachel kissing another man and informs this to Adam who breaks up with her, much to Kyle’s happiness.
Kyle tries to keep Adam’s spirits high and tells him that they can pick up chicks using his illness to their benefit and they do go out to a bar and pick up girls. However Adam ends up not enjoying himself, not able to adjust to the situations. He starts to sinks further into depression and when Mitch dies his composure slowly begins to unravel as the realities and seriousness of his illness become increasingly sharper. His doctor soon inform him that the chemo isn’t working and they will have to operate. After a night out with Kyle, he crashes at his friend’s place and sees that Kyle has been reading up on how to help a cancer patient. Seeing his friend’s hidden devotion to him gives him some added courage. He goes in for the operation while his parents & Kyle wait, joined in the waiting room by Kathaerine. Adam’s surgery is successful as the cancer is removed. At the end of the movie Adam has Katharine over for a date and as they start a relationship the movie ends to the brilliant Yellow Ledbetter by Pearl Jam.
Its well acted and well written. The cast was well chosen and although the movie is light-hearted for the most part, it still is a sweet & touching movie. 8 out of 10!