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2011 (Jonathan Levine) 14A, 100 minutes

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Angelica Huston

Cancer is anything but a laugh riot. Yet 50/50 nimbly draws humour out of a young man's illness, walks a tightrope of tragicomedy and touches on all the right points. Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is an earnest public-radio producer with an attractive artist girlfriend, Rachel (Bryce Dallas Howard). His life is upended when he learns he has a rare, potentially fatal malignant tumour on his spine. This information is dispensed by a doctor lacking any semblance of bedside manner. The news doesn't compute. "But I'm going to be OK?" Adam asks, as only a previously healthy 27-year-old can. His chances of survival are summed up in the film's title. 50/50 is as much about how friends and family respond to Adam's diagnosis as it is about his own methods of coping. His worrywart mother (Anjelica Huston) offers to move in. His egocentric girlfriend gets him a dog but can't deal with the illness's "negative energy." Only Adam's knuckleheaded pal Kyle (Rogen) is there through his lowest moments — the head shaving, the gatherings with fellow cancer sufferers, the precarious surgery.

Claudi Puig, USA Today

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