50/50 is a film I wasn’t sure whether or not I would like, given how its premise didn’t seem to fit any kind of comedy bill, but I was very pleasantly surprised.
When Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) gets some recurring pain in his back, he goes to see his physician, Dr Ross (Andrew Airlie), and, as on the MRI scan, up pops a malignant tumour which is eroding his spine. Dr Ross doesn’t really help by being very coy about the situation, especially when going on to explain how his case is “fascinating” because it’s down to a rare gene condition. This leads him to going for an appointment with Dr McKay (Anna Kendrick), surprised to learn she’s a girl around his age.
There’s still, however, a lot of very humourous moments, such as when his girlfriend Rachael (Bryce Dallas Howard) buys him a retired greyhound. He says, “You got me an old dog?”, to which she replies, “Well, he’s not *that* old.”, which he follows up with sarcastically, “He’s old enough to be retired(!)”
She tells him that “dogs help with the healing process”, and he replies, “Well, does he have a medical licence(?)”
50/50 tells a true story with a lot of banter between with Adam and Kyle (Seth Rogen), such as where Kyle’s trying to get Adam laid following some… ‘hiccups’ in his relationship. For example, when Adam tells Kyle that he hasn’t had sex with his girlfriend in 3 weeks:
- Kyle: “Does she give you blow jobs?”
Adam: “No, she doesn’t like to do that.”
Kyle: “No-one likes to put dicks in their mouths… that’s why they’re called ‘blow JOBS'”
All the key cast members are superb in their roles, and there’s nice additions from Matt Frewer (aka ‘Max Headroom’) and Philip Baker Hall as fellow cancer patients undergoing treatment at the same time as Adam. There’s also Anjelica Houston as Adam’s mother, but she doesn’t really seem to push the boat out.
There’s a lot more I could say here about it, but to do so would be to give spoilers and you simply have to sit back and enjoy the interplay between all the key characters, especially those of our two leads, and particularly Seth Rogen because whenever I’ve seen a trailer for a film with him in it, it’s steered me away from all of them because he comes across as an annoying moron, but here he surpasses all that.
Presented in 16:9 and in 1080p high definition, there isn’t a single flaw in the encoding process so it looks crisp and clear throughout.
The sound is in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, for which I got the 5.1 DTS version, and delivers nothing out of the ordinary for a drama with little or no audio challenges.
The extras are as follows:
- Featurettes (9:08): I know the word ‘featurettes’ indicates that they’re brief, but only nine minutes across all four? As such, the chat from the cast members is too brief to be of any real use.
- Deleted scenes (6:09): Five here, all with optional audio commentary. I’m in two minds about putting back Nos.3 and 4, but even if they just existed as extras, they’re still worth a watch.
- The Story of 50/50 (7:54): A brief look at the history of the project, with Seth Rogen, co-producer Evan Goldberg and writer Will Reiser, who went through the experience depicted on-screen. There’s also chat from Joseph Gordon Levitt and director Jonathan Levine, who comments on how there’s a lot of improv between Joseph and Seth throughout the film which ended up in the final draft, and such scenes show as they work brilliantly.
- Life Inspires Art (9:16): Split into four sections, chat from the usual suspects covers all the basics of the inspiration for the film and how it was put together. Just enough to give you a flavour of how things were behind the scene.
- Seek and Destroy (2:22): A very brief featurette about a particular scene, which to go into detail here would act as a spoiler.
So, not a great number of extras, alas, and doesn’t include a trailer, either.
The menu mixes clips from the film with a very small piece of looped theme music and the number of chapters is an incredibly poor 12, which is the usual embarrassment you expect from Optimum and Artificial Eye. Why do they short change us like this? Are they paying by the chapter?
English subtitles are included, however.
Running time: 100 minutes
Cat no: LGB94809
Released: March 19th 2012
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Jonathan Levine
Producers: Evan Goldberg, Ben Karlin and Seth Rogen
Screenplay: Will Reiser
Music: Michael Giacchino
Adam: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Kyle: Seth Rogen
Katherine: Anna Kendrick
Rachael: Bryce Dallas Howard
Diane: Anjelica Huston
Richard: Serge Houde
Dr. Ross: Andrew Airlie
Mitch: Matt Frewer
Alan: Philip Baker Hall
Dr. Walderson: Donna Yamamoto
Susan: Sugar Lyn Beard
Dr. Lee: Yee Jee Tso
Jenny: Sarah Smyth
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.