50/50′ shows humor in tragedy

Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in “50/50” as nail-biting, cardigan-wearing cancer patient Adam Learner. Seth Rogen co-stars as Adam’s best friend Kyle, who uses the “cancer card” to try and pick up women for the both of them. When Adam’s girlfriend is caught cheating on him, he is left alone and cancer-ridden, trying to avoid his overbearing mother. His newfound independence is more heartbreaking than empowering, but he has Skeletor, the retired greyhound given to him by his ex, to temper the sting of loneliness at night. Chemotherapy turns out to be rather beneficial for Adam, when he snacks on the delicious edibles that have a little something extra inside made by his new friend Mitch’s wife. Mitch and Allen are two older men who also have cancer, and open up Adam’s otherwise uptight and straight-laced lifestyle to the joys of medical marijuana. Anna Kendrick, who appeared in “Twilight” playing a similar character, plays Adam’s hysterically awkward therapist. Their relationship evolves into one that may be a bit ethically questionable, but it is irresistible to watch develop. Rogen’s crude and inappropriate humor does not disappoint, but Kyle has a soft side that most of Rogen’s other characters have not had. In a tear-jerking scene, Adam finds a book entitled “How to Handle Cancer Together” in Kyle’s bathroom, with page corners folded down and notes all over the margins. Rogen plays a best friend that anyone would want. “50/50” tackles quite a few of life’s challenges. From family drama to failed relationships to staring death in the face, the natural lightheartedness of the characters provides the perfect balance to these emotional hardships. This movie is one of the few that is capable of making you burst out in laughter, well up with tears and then — in the middle of trying to pretend you’re not crying — burst out laughing again. On a scale of one to 50, the title pretty much speaks for itself, as far as ratings go.