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50/50: A credible blend of lively and sombre

Joseph Gordon-Levitt (left) and Seth Rogen in a scene from "50/50"

Chris Helcermanas-Benge

3.5 out of 4 stars


Directed by Jonathan Levine (USA)

Even hardened cynics will embrace the cliché – yep, you will laugh, you will cry. When doctors discover a malignant tumour in his back, Adam gets his survival odds and the movie gets its title. The rest spins his potentially terminal cancer into a buoyant romcom, an unlikely partnership that, dancing adroitly between the drama and the laughs, works remarkably well. Seth Rogen is there to dole out his trademark yuks, Anna Kendrick doubles as a callow counsellor plus the budding love interest, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is touchingly restrained in the victim's role. You'd expect black comedy here, not these brighter hues, but with a few exceptions – the bad-girlfriend subplot, an antic car crash – the colour scheme is a credible blend of lively and sombre. Expect this to be a huge crowd-pleaser – I'd put the odds at 90/10.

Sept. 12, 6 p.m., Ryerson; Sept. 13, 2 p.m., AMC 7

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Film critic

Rick Groen is a film critic for The Globe and Mail. More

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