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'50/50' movie review: A good mix of funny and emotional

September 30, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
In "50/50," Joseph Gordon-Levitt takes on the role of a young man who learns he has a rare form of cancer. Seth Rogen plays his best friend.

The film is inspired by a story involving Rogen's real life best friend, Will Reiser, who wrote the screenplay.

Rogen clearly knows this character well, and that's probably why the friendship feels so authentic.

And Joseph Gordon-Levitt once again shows he is at the top of his game. Whether he's communicating with a line, a look, a stare or a glare, you feel what his character must be going through in a medical maze of uncertainty.

Trying to help him cope is his inexperienced therapist, played with care by Anna Kendrick, who adds a dose of sweet awkwardness.

Bryce Dallas Howard plays Gordon-Levitt's girlfriend, who isn't quite sure how to deal with this cancer. While the dog she gets her sick boyfriend is adorable, Howard's character is not, and I think moviegoers will enjoy seeing how this plot point plays out.

There are a couple of emotional moments in the film that almost wrecked me; they're just very moving. But "50/50" is also very funny and it had my attention 100 percent of the time. I highly recommend it.

Anjelica Huston is fun as Gordon-Levitt's over-protective mom. And, as fellow cancer patients, look for some great moments with Matt Frewer, of TV's "Max Headroom" fame, and the always powerful Philip Baker Hall.

"50/50" is rated R.