50/50 is a Cancer Comedy of Errors

The Buddy-Flick Genre Continues to Metastasize

003 unc d001 00206 50/50 is a Cancer Comedy of Errors

Gordon-Levitt and Rogen.

In the pantheon of tastelessness designed to make you laugh at diarrhea, menstruation, masturbation, yeast infections, fellatio and worse, you can now add a stupid horror called 50/50. Artificial, irresponsible, filthy and forgettable, it knocks itself cross-eyed trying to make you roar with laughter at chemotherapy, with the nauseating Seth Rogen milking most of the yuks. But a stoner comedy about cancer? I don’t think so.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has two expressions — sleepy and catatonic — and he wears them ragged as Adam Lerner, a 27-year-old reporter for National Public Radio stationed in Seattle who sinks into an understandable depression when malignant tumors are diagnosed on his spine and he is given only a 50/50 chance of survival. His best friend is a disgusting moron who is determined to cheer up by using his terminal illness to attract girls. Can Seth Rogen play anything else? I think they write disgusting moron parts for him in case Zach Galifianakis or Jack Black are busy playing other disgusting moron roles elsewhere, and he plays them all the same way. Anyway, in one of the few lines that can be repeated in print, he says, “If you were a casino game, you’d have the best odds.” In this movie, even the doctors are stupid. Adam’s oncologist is only 24. “What are you? Doogie Howser?” he asks incredulously. Doctor: “Who?” Adam: “Doogie Howser. The teenage doctor.” Oncologist: “Does he work here?” These are the jokes, folks.

Part of this movie is about the ghastly ordeal cancer patients go through—pain, syringes, vomiting, and coughing up blood, and a cold, impersonal medical establishment that places little value on human life—and part of it is about everyone else—caregivers, family members and friends—all of whom care more about themselves than the patient. (All false generalizations for the sake of laughs, and like everything else in the movie, grossly exaggerated.) When Adam undergoes his first chemo treatment, his duplicitous girlfriend (badly overacted by Bryce Dallas Howard) waits four hours in the car because she can’t stand the interiors of hospitals. His stressed-out mother (and what, you may well ask, is Anjelica Huston doing in this blunder?) acts like a cross between Lady Macbeth and Zasu Pitts. Eventually Adam gives up and falls for his psychiatrist (Anna Kendrick) in a sex game that is pure cardboard.

Director Jonathan Levine, who proved his incompetence with two previous disasters, The Wackness and All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (a sex thriller so bad it was never released), based the film on the autobiographical experiences of the film’s writer, Will Reiser. But nothing about it rings true. The gallows humor is unforgiving and the compassion is synthetic. The film reveals nothing new about advances in cancer research, addresses no issues like the drug companies that suppress alternative treatments to profit from human suffering. No, it’s just about one guy trying to get laid.

As a nice fellow coming to grips with his own mortality, Mr. Gordon-Levitt shows some tenderness that was never on view in grim movies like Brick and Inception, but his character is so passive it’s hard to get a grip of your own on any kind of reality. Seth Rogen is too vulgar and creepy to believe as anyone’s friend, but he is convincing as a dedicated believer in the medicinal value of pot smoking. My reaction to everything that happens in 50/50 was “Why don’t they just walk out?” But nobody did, so I did it for them.

rreed@observer.com

50/50

Running Time 99 minutes

Written by Will Reiser

Directed by Jonathan Levine

Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen and Anna Kendrick

1/4

Comments

  1. AnonymousDiva says:

    Yawn.  More self-indulgent nonsense from Reed.  Rex, you should have retired long ago.  You’re far less cynical than you try to be in these silly reviews, and frankly it got old around 1990.  Your review: 1 out of 4.

  2. Anne Zhang says:

    Jesus, could you be more harsh and vindictive?

    It’s a movie. You might not have liked it, but there’s no reason to abuse it as if it slept with your girlfriend.

  3. Monkeytouchet says:

    Those who can’t do, become critics. :)

  4. Rex I suggest doing some research. This movie and it’s script was written by a man who got cancer in real life. It’s an account of what he really went through and how he was able to deal with it with a sense of humor. It’s inspiring to people Mr Reed, to people who have hearts or who have relatives who also went through cancer. Your hate on this movie (which I have seen and loved) is literally disgusting. How dare you squash a man’s triumphs. He dealt with cancer, kept mostly positive, and wrote about it, and now you say it’s hateful. YOU are hateful actually. God some people actually call themselves film critics. I can’t believe you.

  5. Joevel80 says:

    What is wrong with you?

    “No, it’s just about one guy trying to get laid.”

    And that’s what the movie was about, you pompous, arrogant and pretentious blow-hard. Go look to stir your next Marisa Tomei controversy somewhere else, like the retirement home.

  6. Jessica says:

    You have completely missed the point of this movie. This review is so off-base it’s laughable. Not to mention inaccurate.. his oncologist is not 24–his therapist is. Did you even pay attention to this movie? You want this film to make a statement? Well, what about the positive portrayal of medicinal marijuana… yeah they don’t say it out loud but if you read between the lines you can see how beneficial it is for someone going through chemo. The humor in this is not low-grade potty jokes, but really well-written for a first time screenwriter. This is one of the most honest films to come out this year and this review is simply horseshit.

  7. AnonAnon says:

    Wow, overreact much, Rex?

  8. AnonAnon says:

    P.S. Rotten Tomatoes current rating is 88% and you trash it. What’s more likely: everyone else is wrong or you suck?

  9. Max says:

    “In this movie, even the doctors are stupid. Adam’s oncologist is only 24.”

    Were you even paying attention? That was his therapist, you pretentious ****.   

    1. Lucas says:

      I haven’t seen it yet, but perhaps you can tell me: why the hell would he be asking a THERAPIST if they were “Doogie Howser”?  Suddenly, the joke is even ten times less funny than Reed gave it credit for being.  In Reed’s version, at least the joke makes sense. 

      1. Charlie says:

        Because a therapist is still in the healthcare industry. You griping over a minor detail that doesn’t alter the premise of the joke at all doesn’t make you look smarter man. Go watch black and white 70s French films you pretentious dolt.

  10. Chris says:

    Why is this douche bag allowed to review movies? I mean my god.

  11. Rossstew11 says:

    Sour Saurus- Rex. 
    With this review you’ve shown us all that you are a Dinosaur walking.

  12. Andrew says:

    I’ve never read Rex Reed before and just happened upon this from a Rotten Tomatoes link.

    I saw an early screening of this film and thought it was brilliant, so I was intrigued to read the reviews of people who didn’t care for it – so I came here.

    I implore everybody who reads this review to dismiss it outright. Aside from the fact that this review makes blatant factual errors about the main character’s oncologist being 24 (she’s his therapist, this is stated explicitly dozens of times. She gives him no medical advice at any point. It’s insane to think that somebody could not figure this out) it’s also incredibly dishonest about the film’s tone.

    The review refers to ‘gallows humor’ which would imply there are dark jokes about cancer in this film. In fact, there are none. Much of the humor comes from the relationships between Adam and everyone else in this film. I can’t recall more than a handful of jokes the directly mention cancer and much of the humor is on the lighter side. This is a soft PG-13 if it weren’t for the F-words.

    Secondly, he calls Joseph Gordon-Levitt “catatonic”. This is an egregious example of how critics haven’t the slightest idea how to review acting. This character comes off like this in the film as he is numbed to his reality – a very common reaction to cancer diagnosis and one that Levitt does a wonderful job of playing. He also doesn’t stay in that state at all as he opens up throughout the film and certainly

    Thirdly, he refers to Rogen’s character (who also does fine work) as a disgusting moron. Yes, he is (somewhat) on the surface, but character clues and the arc he takes reveals this not to be the case. Reading that makes me think that Reed just dismisses anything Rogen does at face value, or if he even paid attention this film (not likely considering the factual errors).

    Instead, Reed seems to want to review people based on what else they’ve done in their careers. What is the point of mentioning Levitt’s or Rogen’s other work as it relates to this film? They have nothing to do with one another. And referencing Jack Black and Zach G? How about you make a salient point with some support rather than just blindly insulting fine comic actors? This review is a joke.

    Speaking of, what about those jokes he dismisses? They may not be funny in print but the timing in that scene is brilliant and it had a sold out preview screening exploding in laughter.

    Go see this movie, and, please, do not take anything that Reed writes in this review seriously.

    1. Kyle says:

      How much does the studio pay you to run around trying to do damage control on bad reviews?

      1. Anne Zhang says:

        But of course every time you ever recommended a doctor, or a movie, or a restaurant, or a website, or a video game, etc, it’s just the companies paying you to run around doing their biddings, right? There’s absolutely no way you could actually be recommending the thing because it’s good and you WANT to share it with your friends.

      2. JD Shippel says:

        Kyle…really? You can’t imagine it’s a good movie? Why don’t you head on over to Rotten Tomatoes and take a look, and then reassess your idiotic post. 

      3. Adam Sondergard says:

        Yeah, Kyle! Let others think for you! Don’t form your own opinion!

        (It’s a great movie, go see it)

    2. Lucas says:

      Again, I must ask: how does the “Doogie Howser” joke even make sense if it’s a “therapist” and not a medical doctor?  You’re aware that you just made the movie sound even stupider by trying to defend it, right?

      1. Anne Zhang says:

        It makes sense because of her age. The trailer showed Levitt’s character Adam asking his therapist isn’t she a little too young to be his therapist, and whether she was like Doogie Howser, or in other words, whether or not she was a child genius like DH.

        Next time you don’t understand something, just ask. We don’t mind explaining. But there’s no reason to take out frustrations over your own lack of understanding on other people’s much more reasoned comments.

      2. Jessica says:

        Anna Kendrick is introduced to him as a therapist (something that takes many years to obtain obviously) and the Doogie Howser joke above takes place AND THEN she reveals that she is currently training as part of her doctorate. The joke makes perfect sense and was hilarious in the film.

      3. Marc Balmazi says:

        umm you can’t really compete with someone who saw the movie by “logic”ing your way through a line of dialogue. she is a therapist in the movie. if you saw it you would know that–it’s not really a debatable proposition.

        as for things “making sense”, a 24 year old oncologist would actually make no sense whatsoever…like actually, NO SENSE. putz.

        (and the doogie howser joke works fine for a therapist. it’s obviously not literal–you could no less use the joke on a 24 year old lawyer. you are familiar with the concept of a joke? the character in this movie is also a female. doogie howser is male. does that make the joke “stupid” also?)

      4. Chae says:

        At the time the Doogie Howser comment was made, there was some confusion as to who she was.  It was only after that it was clarified that she’s a doctoral candidate.  If there’s any inaccuracies there, doctoral candidates don’t usually refer to themselves as “doctors” and especially not in a hospital.  The medical doctors can be pretty touchy about that.  In research and educational settings in most hard science, PhDs are generally much more unrestrained in calling themselves and each other “doctors.”

      5. Anonymous says:

        Lucas-  please try really harder not to sound so lame and stupid!  PLEASE…

  13. Kevin says:

    “Seth Rogen is too vulgar and creepy to believe as anyone’s friend, but he is convincing as a dedicated believer in the medicinal value of pot smoking. ”

    Honestly? How are you going to say this when, in reality, he WAS Adam Lerner’s friend? Was Seth acting as himself really not good enough for you?? You’re pathetic, and I hope you read all of these negative comments so you can truly see that.

    1. Mindy Mae says:

      …and apparently, you think Seth Rogan acts the same way in real life as he does in his movies.  You’re  a real genius there, champ.  Do you think he dresses in green and drives around with an asian fighting crime, too?

  14. Jessdoubleh says:

    how can someone so ignorant and biased be allowed to review movies?  the observer should be embarrassed to employ such a moron.  i guess all the cancer survivors who are proud and touched by this movie know less than this old douchebag?

  15. Kelly K says:

    I’m sorry, if you didn’t see the movie all the way through don’t write a review…

  16. Jake says:

    Oncologist: 4 years of medical school, 3 years internal medicine residency, at least 2 years of oncology fellowship. At minimum 30 years old. 

    Also, malignant does not equal terminal. 

  17. Kyle says:

    How does this guy have a job?

  18. Johnny5 says:

    I gather you’ve had a personal experience with cancer in some form or another, and this film doesn’t do that experience justice in your mind. That’s fine as you’re only human. But to walk out on a film you’re supposed to review? That’s just unprofessional. I’m sorry but that kills your ethos. I think I’ll go see what 80% of critics are calling a good if not great film.

  19. Tom H says:

    Are you hoping this shit review will make you famous like Kim Kardashian’s sex tape did for her?

  20. Jass says:

    Rex Reed hasn’t given a relevant review in over 20 years so why is this surprising to anyone?

  21. Yourmom says:

    Fucking punk ass bitch.

  22. Vincent Lugo says:

    Rex reed. imbecile extraordinaire! 

  23. Anonymous says:

    oh, i understand now. you don’t have a sense of humor. what are you, 90 years old?

  24. Gary says:

    His review of this film to me seems very emotional. Perhaps Mr Reed has had some experience with cancer that made it difficult for him to disconnect emotionally. His review does serve a purpose and will likely make many want to see it even more.
    As far as his validity as a film critic, I suspect he is not going anywhere anytime soon. Look how many responses his review has garnered.

    1. Chae says:

      If Rex deliberately panned a good movie to generate traffic for his review, it’s called “trolling.”  In that, he shows solidarity with 14 year old boys worldwide actively dating their socks in emotional and intellectual maturity.

  25. Vicky Katherine says:

    Well doesn’t this sound like a crock of shit I see we say two different movies ,or your just an heartless ass!

  26. Neil Goldman says:

    It’s pretty clear what he thinks of this.

    Rex Reed Supports Cancer.

  27. Team Justin says:

    Dear Rex,
    Have you ever personally delt with Cancer? I don’t just mean yourself, I mean close like a love one whose head you hold while they vomit, or whose head you now have to shave because they are shedding so much that their hair is in their eyes, ears mouth etc. Obviously you don’t have any of that experience because if you had you would be able to understand this movie. While the jokes may be to simple for you, that is the reality of cancer. Everyday is a sad reality so instead you look for stupid, or silly things to raise your spirits. I went through this a year ago with my 16 year old son whom ultimately died from his leukemia. Yet there wasn’t a day that we didn’t laugh or smile (he even hit on a few nurses). I will be the first to say some of the jokes were gross and in very poor taste. We would do this because the reality was too grim and devastating. God Bless the fact that we did, otherwise we never would have survived the 4 grueling months of treatment.
    You might not get it, obviously you don’t but I suggest before you slam a movie such as this that you first watch the movie all the way through. Secondly, spend a little time on an oncology ward and talk to the teenagers and young adult patients and hear from their perspective what it is to live with cancer so that maybe you can understand the premise behind this movie.

    1. I’m so sorry for the loss of your son Team Justin.   I’m a cancer Survivor myself and my post nearly mirrors your response.  I don’t know what movie this guy watched, but it wasn’t the same one I saw.  Here’s how I reviewed it:

      “Oh Rex Reed you are such a tool of a reviewer.  Did you even watch the movie?  Your review is factually incorrect in many spots.  Why don’t you take it from someone whose actually been there like me?I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 35 and I’m now in remission for nearly 2 years.  This was one of the most accurate depictions of what a young adult cancer survivor goes through that I have ever seen.  It was like watching my own experience on film.  In fact, in some spots it was almost a flash back for me and was painful enough to make me react emotionally with tears at some of those memories.  Of course you wouldn’t know that because you’re too busy trying to get over the dick jokes and sophomoric humor of Seth Rogan.  Well I’ve got news for you Rex, cancer patients have a sense of humor too, and we can even laugh at our situation as we’re going through our battle.  If I couldn’t laugh at the absurdity of what chemotherapy did to my body and instead just moped around in a state of depression I wouldn’t have lived, because I would have gone insane.  I’m one of the lucky ones, and I know that, and I am thankful that I survived.  What I am not thankful for is how a nit wit like yourself can so easily push aside one of the best films of the year, especially when it is so honest about what it is like to be a young adult dealing with cancer. Pathetic, but I guess that’s what we should expect from people like you who haven’t a clue.”

      I hope Rex never has to experience what your son and I went through, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.  Of course I wouldn’t wish Rex Reed on my worst enemy either ;-)  LIVESTRONG, I’m sure Justin would want it that way.

  28. Oliverthecorgie says:

    I wasn’t aware that anyone took Rex Reed seriously anymore.  Being a film critic takes more than just being good at cattiness and sarcasm. 

  29. Scott Bartell says:

    “The film reveals nothing new about advances in cancer research,
    addresses no issues like the drug companies that suppress alternative
    treatments to profit from human suffering. No, it’s just about one guy
    trying to get laid.”   Well really, what do you expect from a comedy?   

  30. Did Rex actually see this?

  31. Alex says:

    Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever read a more moronic and ridiculous ‘professional’ film review. Let this be the nail in the coffin of Rex Reed’s writing career. What pompous, self-indulgent shit.

  32. No Victim says:

    Knocked Up, With Cancer
    As a film fanatic and physician who happened to do his residency at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center I can attest to the fact that this film is rubbish.
    It seems as though there were two films on the table; a serious one dealing with a young man coming to terms with his diagnosis and its affect on his sexuality and relationships and an imbecilic unfunny Seth Rogan bromance filled with jokes about vomit,  yeast infections and dogs licking themselves. I assume that a committee meeting took place at some point and it was decided that the only way to generate some cash flow for this p.o.s was to go down the low road in order to pick up the coveted 18-35 imbecile demographic. The results were offensive. 

    1. Trav says:

      you can attest that is rubbish…. how?  
      Having just held my mom’s hand through a mastectomy and 6 months of chemo I can say this movie was so spot on I started crying ten minutes in and didn’t stop until the end and some 35 minutes after that.  Some of the lines were dead on to the point that I can remember hearing my mom say them.  I think the movie did a marvelous job depicting how people deal.  As far as the jokes crude yes but I laughed about plenty of inane and crude things during the process.  There is an effort to strike a balance with the idea that the world is both ending and still going on around you.  so we made jokes about being bald and puke breath because its what we would do before and thus did after.  Seth Rogen wasn’t going to become a saint.  He continued to make the crude jokes he did before.  So can’t say I get where people come off thinking there were two movies or how this was a poor depiction of a cancer scenario… 

    2. Complete bullshit.  You may have done your residency at one of the finest cancer hospitals in the country pal,  but I am a young adult cancer Survivor of Stage 3 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma who went through hell and back with chemotherapy and its many wonderful side affects.  I nearly died twice from Neutropenia infections so I think I can count myself as a qualified expert in this area.  I can attest this is one of the most accurate depictions of what it is like to go through cancer from the PATIENT’S point of view as a young adult.  I can also attest that you probably have one of the worst bedside manners if that is your attitude.  Please don’t go into Oncology and stick to general medicine where you belong.  You don’t have the heart and soul required to deal with cancer patients.

  33. No Victim says:

    Knocked Up, With Cancer.
    As a film fanatic and physician who happened to do his residency at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center I can attest to the fact that this film is rubbish.It seems as though there were two films on the table; a serious one dealing with a young man coming to terms with his diagnosis and its affect on his sexuality and relationships and an imbecilic unfunny Seth Rogan bromance filled with jokes about vomit,  yeast infections and dogs licking themselves. I assume that a committee meeting took place at some point and it was decided that the only way to generate some cash flow for this p.o.s was to go down the low road in order to pick up the coveted 18-35 imbecile demographic. The results were offensive.

    1. Complete bullshit.  You may have done your residency at one of the finest cancer hospitals in the country pal,  but I am a young adult cancer Survivor of Stage 3 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma who went through hell and back with chemotherapy and its many wonderful side affects.  I nearly died twice from Neutropenia infections so I think I can count myself as a qualified expert in this area.  I can attest this is one of the most accurate depictions of what it is like to go through cancer from the PATIENT’S point of view as a young adult.  I can also attest that you probably have one of the worst bedside manners if that is your attitude.  Please don’t go into Oncology and stick to general medicine where you belong.  You don’t have the heart and soul required to deal with cancer patients.

    2. Chae says:

      Yes, because doctors are renowned for their empathy dealing with patients.  Maybe you are and maybe you stand as one of few who can speak for the patients as they struggle with the diagnosis.  Maybe you aren’t.  That uncertainty makes what you ground your opinion an absolute non-sequitur. 

  34. Phil says:

    Did I watch the same movie as Rex Reed? This was one of my favorite movies of the past couple of years…it hit me in the same place that Once did, it made me rush home and hug my dog, call my mom, read all of the reviews that I could find online. For shame that Mr Reed just doesn’t get it.

  35. Leahydpt says:

    First off, anyone who understood this movie would know that Anna Kendrick’s character is not the “Oncologist,” she is a psychiatrist (stay with me here).

    As a mid twenty year old cancer survivor, your comment “(All false generalizations for the sake of laughs, and like everything else in the movie, grossly exaggerated” is probably one of the dumbest comments written.  This movie could not have been more realistic in both the emotional and psychological aspect of a cancer patient.

    I am not saying you had to “like” the movie because everyone is free to have their opinion, but at least get your facts straight regarding the movie before you give false information.

  36. Hey, umm, Just so you know.
    This movie is based on a true story that happened to the stars in the film.
    So…
    Don’t make an ass of yourself next time.

  37. joel.s says:

    “The film reveals nothing new about advances in cancer research, addresses no issues like the drug companies that suppress alternative treatments to profit from human suffering.”

    Erm.. because the film doesn’t want to?
    I mean, this is a Levine film, not a Reed film. I don’t get how critics always come to watch a film with their own expectations instead of approaching a film with an open mind: what is the director’s intention?

    Also, Mr. Gordon Levitt was not passive. He was perpetually trying to combat/ignore his predicament by forcing himself to stay calm. If you saw the film till the end, he DID break down. 

    Rogen is creepy, the Mom can be a control freak, the Shrink’s an amateur, the girlfriend’s a cheater … All these people come with their own set of flaws, and yet they all try to cope with the problem: gordon with cancer, with the only means they knew (mother becomes even more of a control freak, rogen wants his friend to smoke pot and get laid, shirnk tries to handle a patient beyond her experience etc.) I thought this was one of the most beautiful aspect of the film. I don’t get how you just dismissed it as:”… family members and friends—all of whom care more about themselves than the patient.”Like seriously? I mean, there was not a single SHOT without Gordon Levitt in it. It’s pretty obvious that whatever we see in the film is super Subjective (Gordon Levitt’s pov)! And unless Gordon Levitt sees things otherwise (which he gradually did), then yes, of course it was apt to portray everyone else as selfish at the start of the film! Are you really a film critic?

  38. Oh Rex Reed you are such a tool of a reviewer.  Did you even watch the movie?  Your review is factually incorrect in many spots.  Why don’t you take it from someone whose actually been there like me.  

    I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Non-Hodgkin’s at the age of 35 and I’m now in remission for nearly 2 years.  This was one of the most accurate depictions of what a young adult cancer survivor goes through that I have ever seen.  It was like watching my own experience on film.  In fact, in some spots it was almost a flash back for me and was painful enough to make me react emotionally with tears at some of those memories.  

    Of course you wouldn’t know that because you’re too busy trying to get over the dick jokes and sophomoric humor of Seth Rogan.  Well I’ve got news for you Rex, cancer patients have a sense of humor too, and we can even laugh at our situation as we’re going through our battle.  If I couldn’t laugh at the absurdity of what chemotherapy did to my body and instead just moped around in a state of depression I wouldn’t have lived, because I would have gone insane. 

     I’m one of the lucky ones, and I know that, and I am thankful that I survived.  What I am not thankful for is how a nit wit like yourself can so easily push aside one of the best films of the year, especially when it is so honest about what it is like to be a young adult dealing with cancer. Pathetic, but I guess that’s what we should expect from people like you who haven’t a clue.

  39. Oh Rex Reed you are such a tool of a reviewer.  Did you even watch the movie?  Your review is factually incorrect in many spots.  Why don’t you take it from someone whose actually been there like me.  

    I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Non-Hodgkin’s at the age of 35 and I’m now in remission for nearly 2 years.  This was one of the most accurate depictions of what a young adult cancer survivor goes through that I have ever seen.  It was like watching my own experience on film.  In fact, in some spots it was almost a flash back for me and was painful enough to make me react emotionally with tears at some of those memories.  

    Of course you wouldn’t know that because you’re too busy trying to get over the dick jokes and sophomoric humor of Seth Rogan.  Well I’ve got news for you Rex, cancer patients have a sense of humor too, and we can even laugh at our situation as we’re going through our battle.  If I couldn’t laugh at the absurdity of what chemotherapy did to my body and instead just moped around in a state of depression I wouldn’t have lived, because I would have gone insane. 

     I’m one of the lucky ones, and I know that, and I am thankful that I survived.  What I am not thankful for is how a nit wit like yourself can so easily push aside one of the best films of the year, especially when it is so honest about what it is like to be a young adult dealing with cancer. Pathetic, but I guess that’s what we should expect from people like you who haven’t a clue.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Who is Rex Reed?

  41. Anonymous says:

    Who is Rex Reed?

  42. bill says:

    I had to walk out too. I’m sorry but the writing was just exaggerated and corny. Nothing was believable about this movie. The therapist character was just a joke imo

  43. Doug says:

    I look at Reed’s idiotic, badly written (he never met an adjective he didn’t like) reviews as a kind of torture.  This man is an embarrassment.

  44. Patrick says:

    Does Rex Reed actually earn a living reviewing movies? As pointed out, Anna Kendrick’s character is not the oncologist. Furthermore, she is not a psychiatrist (perhaps Mr. Reed is not aware of the difference between psychiatrist and psychologist).  Anyhow, great movie. Gordon-Levitt’s performance, in particular, was extraordinary.

  45. Jason Clark says:

    Is this guy for real? It’s like he forgot to see the film, so he reviewed the trailer based on his obvious hatred of Seth Rogen and passionate ambivalence towards Joseph Gordon-Levitt, an actor universally praised as one of the greatest actors of his generation.

    Get a clue, dude. Not everyone deals with cancer the way Hollywood usually portrays it.

  46. Quizick says:

    I really really liked this movie and actually immediately told a few friends that it is excellent. I live in Los Angeles and feel that I have decently rigorous standards and feel fair and objective in saying this movie is almost always: smartly written, genuinely funny, poignant, feels realistic, visually nicely shot, superbly acted and equal parts serious and comedic. The writer did a great job balancing a morbidly serious topic with cutting, usually smart dark humor. It’s absolutely not a dumbed-down fart & cheap sex movie. Not at all. Those elements are counterpoints to the very real life, everyday, more subtle, mundane feel of the characters and their lives. Anna Kendrick’s character is a grief therapist or whatever you call it. She is a shrink that works in the hospital to help people with these extremely serious diagnoses. Gordon-Levitt’s character’s oncologist is an older middle aged WASPy guy, plain and simple. Case closed. Rex Reed is being insanely biased and unfair and completely not realistic or accurate in his review. He clearly just hates Seth Rogan with a passion (Rogen in this movie delivers many lines well and IS a gruff, foul-mouthed character, but also big-hearted and serves as a sort of comic relief). The Doogie Howser joke was funny as hell and very dryly delivered. Even though she’s a psychotherapist, it’s an analogy, a metaphor or whatever. She’s incredibly young to be in a position of such authority and responsibility in a major hospital (she’s years younger than her patient, Gordon-Levitt).

  47. This really is a misguided review. This film is only about one young man’s experience with his cancer; it would be a different and less personal film (possibly more interesting, but different) if it tried to take on the modern medical community, pharmaceutical companies and the like. Mr. Reed’s opinion of Seth Rogen is clearly his own, and so we should all take that aspect of the review with a grain of salt. I happen to like Rogen, and have friends like him, so that aspect of the film didn’t bother me.

    I found this movie touching and funny, and while I expect to be accused of shilling for the studio, I honestly just feel like this review is a misread of the film based on personal biases. This is a smart, honest movie that deserves to be seen, and deals with a serious subject matter in an appropriate manner. Mr. Reed is accurate in one regard, though: the Bryce Dallas Howard character is a serious misfire, too cartoonish and cruel to be believed. If you have any interest in this film, don’t let this review sway you. It has a solid average on Metacritic that is wholly deserved, and is well worth checking out.

  48. Firannion says:

    I’m so glad to find another reviewer who hated this movie as much as I did.  It was not funny at all, and catatonic is certainly an appropriate description of the lead character through the first 3/4 of the movie.  It wasn’t about a person dealing with cancer, but about a person refusing to deal with it.  I can’t fathom why it’s getting positive reviews at all.  And yes, I’ve had people close to me go through chemo, survive cancer or die from it, and I absolutely get it that dark humor helps people get through such experiences.  But Seth Rogen’s style of ‘humor’ is way too sophomoric to warrant as much screentime as he gets.

  49. Babaclay says:

    I could only take 15 minutes of this movie before I walked out.  It was that bad.

  50. pepe says:

    She’s not his oncologist, you moron.  She’s a PhD student in psychology doing her internship. The character falsely assumes she’s a doctor when he comments on her age.

  51. Eric W. says:

    “Adam’s oncologist is only 24.”

    Your review is a comedy of errors.

  52. Bigarn1958 says:

    great movie…you are an idiot!

  53. Sljohnson12 says:

    Here is a more accurate review:

    50/50 A Moving and
    Remarkable Film

    Sam Johnson

     

    In a market where the majority of films rely upon superfluous
    amounts of violence and gore, massage use of sex appeal, shallow and
    exaggerated melodrama, and an exploitation of CGI, it is always refreshing to
    come across a diamond in the rough, so the speak, that shines with a novelty
    that is memorable and entertaining.

     

    Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a character that discovers he is
    diagnosed with a formation of a tumor on his spine that is a rare type of
    cancer. Despite the medical lingo involved in such a situation, the terminology
    used from the very beginning of the film and then throughout the progression of
    therapy, there never is a moment where the entertainment value is hindered by
    such.  This is much in part because of
    the clear nature in which it is presented – also, it can be attributed to the
    general light hearted nature of the film and cast. The supporting role provided
    by Seth Rogen, acting as the best friend of Gordon-Levitt, adds a comical facet
    to the film that is pinnacle in making the film appeal to a younger demograph.
    Additional aspects that add to an appeal to youth would be an adequate indie
    soundtrack, in addition to shots of the use of marijuana that is used in
    conjunction with the process of chemotherapy. 
     

                                                                  

    Gordon-Levitt carries much of, if not the majority of, the
    entertainment value and the sheer power of the film. He shows an emotional
    range that has not been tapped into since The
    Lookout (2007), and Rogen more than adequately plays his part as the friend
    who, despite a somewhat shallow demeanor and seemingly decadent interests in
    lifestyle, proves to have the heart of a true friend. In fact, it is in the
    scenes that show the true caring and support of Rogen, Gordon-Levitt’s mother,
    therapist, and even other patients diagnosed with cancer, that the true message
    of the film is brought to light.

     

    A very rare aspect exists within this film, a mark that many
    emotionally driven dramas strive to hit but sorely miss- universal
    relatability. There are moments that honestly touch the heart. It is not so
    much that the film makers were striving to strictly make it so that viewers
    could relate to being diagnosed with an illness; rather, it is in the care, concern
    and the extent to which these emotions are shown that any single person in the
    audience can relate a moment in their life where a friend or family member, or
    themselves personally, had to face some crisis from something as mild as a
    romantic break up to something as serious as a life threatening situation, or
    even something as grave as death.

     

    An interesting and significant constituent that adds to the
    entertainment value is that of comic relief. While still maintaining the
    copious relevance to the matter at hand concerning cancer, the comedy is quite
    excellent and does not feel forced. This is critical, as in, if it were to feel
    forced and unnatural, then some audience members would walk away feeling as
    though the film were some sort of mockery or satire of a cancer patient, or in
    the very least, finding the intents of the film makers to be ambiguous and in
    poor taste. Again, as stated earlier, Rogen provides a comic relief that, as he
    had remarked in an interview prior to release was that even in light of such a
    depressing situation, it is better to try to not take things so seriously and,
    in the very least, show support by offering a warm and good laugh.

     

    Gordon-Levitt is an interest case of an actor. Starting off
    as the alien in the TV series 3rd
    Rock From the Sun (1996), and then moving to his next major role as a Mr.
    Nice Guy in 10 Things I Hate About You
    (1999), then deciding to star in the lesser known Brick (2005 ); moving on to show his true abilities for conveying extreme
    emotions in the aforementioned The
    Lookout, then playing a hopeless romantic in (500) Days of Summer (2009) and while many enjoyed Inception (2010), Gordon-Levitt arguably did little aside from stand
    there and look good. It is in this film that, because of his performance, 50/50 truly shines as one of the best
    films amongst its peers and one that is a definite must see.

  54. Sljohnson12 says:

    I apologize to the forum and people here that my previous post spaced out as it did: I DID NOT INTEND FOR THIS TO HAPPEN! Please read it regardless, as it is far more objective and warranted than the review by Reed (if he walked out of the theatre, then this completely kills any sort of ethos and in fact makes his review essentially fallacious. If anything, it sounds as though he wrote a review of the preview).

    Again, the spacing of my previous review WAS NOT MEANT TO BE THAT WAY. I’m sorry though strongly hope it is not removed by admin.

  55. Chae says:

    So Rex, you reviewed a movie based on incomplete viewing, as you confess to having walked out?

    Unprofessional.  Egotistical.  Self-indulgent.  I have more, but feel free to walk out any time.

  56. Cdubvike says:

    You Sir, Mister Reed, are a blight.

  57. Jackson says:

    This guy is a fucking idiot

  58. Abby says:

    This is the most unprofessional film review from a so-called “movie critic” that I have ever read. Why on Earth this man’s childish ramblings are included on Rotten Tomatoes is beyond me. Mr. Reed clearly decided he hated this film before even watching it; and what kind of critic walks out early on a film that he’s going to review? This may be crazy talk, but I think if a critic isn’t even going to bother watching the whole film he should choose not to write a “professional” review at all. How can he possibly write an accurate calculation of the film when he didn’t watch the whole story and had preconceived notions about it based on his intense hatred of particular actors/crewmembers involved? Multiple character and story details that Reed describes are completely inaccurate, wildly overexaggerated, and/or deceivingly out-of-context. This review is untruthful, misleading, hateful, unfocused, and just downright laughable. These qualities make it extremely unprofessional and therefore useless as a resource in helping consumers make informed movie-going decisions. Shame on you, Rex Reed, for calling yourself a movie critic.

  59. Cancer Survivor says:

    I’m a young adult with cancer.  Most of my fight should be over.. unless it comes back.  I cried through about 25% of this film.  I’m a guy.  I cried, as in sobbing like 10-year-old boy who got his dog run over.  

    What’s more, I heard other people in the theater crying too. 

    This guy Reed, like so many others have commented, seems off his rocker.  I have no idea how he can criticize this film as he has.  It’s just so off base (plus the factual errors), that we have to wonder if he was mentally present while watching the film.

    I’m not saying this is a Best Picture nod.. but it’s a very solid movie that seemed extremely realistic to me at many points.  So much so that, like I said, I bawled like a child (and heard other people bawling through the same parts).  

  60. The Loon says:

    his Oncologist wasn’t 24…did this guy even watch the film?

  61. Potstickerfan says:

    Rex is a sad old shoplifting queen who needs to head off to pasture in Ft. Lauderdale.  He has no business reviewing modern cinema. No one in the industry takes his comments seriously, and the fact that he is now completely butchering factual information from the movies he previews- and lambasts- he is likely setting himself up for a libel suit by the filmmakers. 

  62. Jeff says:

    Terrible review.  The experience to be had at this film is nothing like what is expressed in Reed’s criticism.  Stating that 50/50 is right at home in a “pantheon of tastelessness”, is blind to the significant amount of sympathy and real emotion given to the proceedings.  Of all the comedies that could have been made about cancer, 50/50 successfully walks a fine line of humor and depth.  The film might concede to softening some of the realities of cancer, but in no way is the film dishonest about the heartbreaking nature of the disease.  Also, the complaint that the film doesn’t reveal anything new about cancer research or address the issues of drug companies looking to profit off of prolonged treatment suggests Reed doesn’t know how to watch a movie, much less review one.  To suggest that 50/50 fails because it didn’t go into greater depth about technical, financial, and cynical realities of cancer treatment is like saying Superbad is a failure because it doesn’t depict harsher realities of underage drinking.  

    Also, Rogen’s character isn’t some one-dimensional, alcohol-disposal, present only to supply the film with cheap laughs.  He’s flawed and crude, yes, but his selfishness is dealt with in the film to reveal depth in his relationship with Levitt.  Levitt’s character is repeatedly frustrated with Rogen because he believes him to be exploiting his condition to hook-up with girls and score medicinal weed.  Levitt’s frustration isn’t necessarily unjustified, but there is more to the picture.  Reed’s obliviousness to this significant story element suggests he wasn’t even paying attention to what was unfolding on the screen.  From the start, Reed’s review has the wrong tone, which contributes to not honestly revealing anything about 50/50.  I would suggest Reed stop going to the movies, it seems to just make him miserable.

    Andrew’s comments and suggestions are spot on.  Dismiss Reed’s review and check out the flick.  It’s well worth it.

  63. Joeconstan says:

    Does anybody on this planet agree with this review?  This was an amazing film.

  64. RexReedIsAJoke says:

    Never in my life have I read such a terrible film review. To all that have seen this movie, it is clear Mr. Reed for whatever reason has a bias against this film. Every part of this film was brilliant. The acting is some of the finest I have seen and the comedy aspect is very delicately placed around the film’s more serious side

    I don’t feel the need to go into any more detail on this film other than to say SEE THIS MOVIE. It is quite easily one of my favourites this year

    Rex Reed, much like this so called “review” you have written, you are a joke

  65. Decidebay says:

    Saw this movie last night. Wonderful. Funny and heartbreaking. I don’t understand how Schwarzbaum could just footnote Gordon-Levitt like she did. He gave a great performance.

  66. Hahahahahahahahahaha. I disagree and give it 7/10 but this is a fuckin hilarious review! Certainly looking forward to reading more of your work.

  67. Lane9907 says:

    Just so you guys know anyone who may have had a friend who as gone through this or has gone through cancer themselves, will tell you that any movie about cancer where the cancer patient lives is touching. You have to understand that just because they made money off this and you may not think its funny, the nostalgia I got from this movie was sad but humorous in a way that made me feel happy. I have lost a very best friend to cancer. When he lived and survived this I literally sat there with tears of joy. Why would you have anything bad to say about a movie that is based around a cancer patient, even though other things are happening, who survives the battle. This movie showed how others are affected from their son and friend having cancer and gives the viewer an understanding of the way people cope. Whether it be the parents, the girlfriend, the friend and even the character with cancer, they all choose to cope their own way. Problem is alot of people die from cancer but he survives. So you know that in itself made me love the movie and made me happy.