Rated 4.0

Written by Will Reiser and inspired by his own battle with cancer, this film has all of the pitfalls of a Hallmark Channel “Disease of the Week” movie, and it sometimes veers into that schmaltzy territory. Even though it has moments, especially early on, that feel predictable and stereotypical, the film is more than rescued by its fine cast and Reiser’s sharp, funny and honest writing. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen are so good here, they deserve awards buzz. They make 50/50, performance-wise, one of the best male “buddy” movies in a long time. Gordon-Levitt plays Adam, a young man actually making a living in Public Broadcasting Radio in Seattle, who gets diagnosed with cancer. Rogen plays his best friend Kyle. When Reiser had his real-life cancer battle, Rogen was one of his best friends, so Rogen is essentially playing himself in this movie. There’s no question that Rogen’s true experience with a similar situation to the one in this film propels his performance, making it perhaps his career’s best work.