Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 42
  2. Negative: 1 out of 42
  1. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Sep 29, 2011
    100
    Every performance in the film is flawless.
  2. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Sep 28, 2011
    100
    It's irreverent about cancer and that could be inspirational. And it's surely one of the most enjoyable movies I've seen all year.
  3. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Sep 28, 2011
    100
    50/50 is a tremendous movie. It's also a really funny one, which doesn't mean it won't make you cry.
  4. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Sep 29, 2011
    89
    Mostly it's just terribly funny and sad and beautifully acted and terrifically feel-good for being, you know, a cancer comedy.
  5. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Sep 29, 2011
    88
    Considering that any one of those elements could have scuttled its fragile mix of drama, comedy and life-and-death stakes, 50/50 beats the odds with modest, utterly winning ease.
  6. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Sep 29, 2011
    88
    A movie handled with this kind of care is a rare gift. Refusing to hide from pain or bow to it, 50/50 makes its own rules. It'll get to you.
  7. Reviewed by: Connie Ogle
    Sep 29, 2011
    88
    50/50 is crude and funny, and it demands that you laugh. And you will.
  8. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Sep 28, 2011
    88
    Like another recent feel-good film about the disease, Gus Van Sant's "Restless," it creates a comforting myth. That's one of the things movies are good for.
  9. Reviewed by: Rick Groen
    Sep 14, 2011
    88
    Even hardened cynics will embrace the cliché – yep, you will laugh, you will cry.
  10. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Sep 29, 2011
    83
    Thanks to a slew of engaging performances and a script that finds the sweet spot between crass and curdled, it's a winner.
  11. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Sep 28, 2011
    83
    The result is a duet of outstanding loveliness between Kendrick and Gordon-Levitt, also an actor of nuanced control.
  12. Reviewed by: Adam Smith
    Nov 21, 2011
    80
    Whether you're after a comedy-drama about cancer or a Rogen laugh-fest with added heart, this does a remarkable job of balancing the odds. And the laughter/tears split? Call it 70/30.
  13. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    Sep 30, 2011
    80
    As the comedy in 50/50 turns darker, Gordon-Levitt, who's maybe the most natural, least affected actor of his generation, makes prickly plenty engaging.
  14. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Sep 29, 2011
    80
    50/50 pulls no punches in its depiction of living day-to-day with illness. There's pain and fear, no question. But this dramatic comedy is also warm, honest and, most especially, funny.
  15. Reviewed by: J.R. Jones
    Sep 29, 2011
    80
    Like many other comedies about serious matters, 50/50 grows more dramatic in its second half. What really impressed me, though, was how easily Reiser could pivot back to comedy at a moment's notice without seeming cheap.
  16. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Sep 30, 2011
    75
    It succeeds mostly thanks to stellar work by the wonderful Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who capably handles the dramatic heavy lifting, and Seth Rogen, who delivers big laughs as his raunchy bud.
  17. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Sep 29, 2011
    75
    This affable comedy is a healthy alternative to tearjerkers.
  18. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Sep 29, 2011
    75
    Just as essential is Seth Rogen, as Adam's best friend. Rogen isn't even 30 yet, but he is already an important actor - not just because he's popular but because he best embodies this particular comic moment.
  19. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Sep 29, 2011
    75
    The picture could be so much better than it is, and yet it's also the kind of movie that makes you want to grade on the curve, adding extra points for good intentions.
  20. Reviewed by: Carrie Rickey
    Sep 29, 2011
    75
    It's half hilarious, half serious; all poignant.
  21. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Sep 29, 2011
    75
    Some of it's schematic and on the nose. But the grace notes are what make 50/50 better than simply "good enough."
  22. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Sep 29, 2011
    75
    The filmmakers do everything they can to balance levity and leavening. The subject says "drama," and the three supporting women deliver well-shaded, understated performances. (Howard shows us how weakness can be just as destructive as malice.)
  23. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Sep 28, 2011
    75
    Ideally cast as Reiser's stand-in, Joseph Gordon-Levitt digs into a character role that also gives him a chance to show off the comedic chops he developed during his years on "3rd Rock From The Sun."
  24. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Sep 28, 2011
    75
    There is a wealth of authenticity in the feel of the movie, as if Levine and/or his writer have endured some of this stuff.
  25. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Sep 28, 2011
    75
    Odds are you'll find something of substance, a few life lessons in between the laughs in 50/50.
  26. Oct 1, 2011
    70
    What ensues is "Beaches" meets "Pineapple Express." Which, I've got to tell you, is pretty much what living with cancer is like.
  27. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Sep 29, 2011
    70
    As a comedy about a young man with cancer, it needs to be serious enough to be real as well as light enough to be funny. Though it falls off the wagon at times, it maintains its balance remarkably well.
  28. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Sep 26, 2011
    70
    Buoyant and observant, 50/50 is a small winner; the director, Jonathan Levine ("The Wackness"), has a great touch, mordant but light-handed.
  29. 70
    The movie belongs to Gordon-­Levitt and Anna Kendrick as his painfully green therapist.
  30. Reviewed by: Kirk Honeycutt
    Sep 14, 2011
    70
    Reiser has written his characters with an indelible sweetness and vulnerability, which allows the cast to deliver performances with some depth.
  31. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Sep 30, 2011
    67
    The film's predictability dampens its best parts. Having decided to make a movie about a dreaded subject, the filmmakers too often retreat into the comfort zone of easy assurances and flip quips.
  32. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Sep 29, 2011
    63
    Kendrick gives a truly bad performance here - she's a self-conscious actress playing a self-conscious person and getting her signals all mixed up - and it's unclear whether she has been hung out to dry by her director or if it's just that the character makes no sense whatsoever.
  33. Reviewed by: R. Kurt Osenlund
    Sep 27, 2011
    63
    The movie is far more successful in its execution of the young-man-meets-mortality element, warranting its existence by bringing some well-considered verisimilitude to what feels like rare movie territory.
  34. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Sep 30, 2011
    60
    Scene by scene, 50/50 can be both amusing and moving, with the tightly wound Gordon-Levitt and the boundaryless Rogen forming an oddly complementary pair. But as a whole the movie never quite coheres, seeming to skitter away at the last minute from both full-body laughter and full-body sobs.
  35. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Sep 29, 2011
    60
    The best parts are the in-between ones, neither laugh-out-loud funny nor overtly heart-wrenching.
  36. Reviewed by: Dan Kois
    Sep 27, 2011
    60
    Although it veers maudlin in its final act - 50/50 mostly succeeds as a movie about a young man fighting cancer that doesn't give in to sap or sentiment.
  37. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Sep 27, 2011
    60
    The story is an autobiographical one from screenwriter Will Reiser's own ordeal; you smile with the thought that he had such women in his life, tough yet supportive, giving him the license to be funny again.
  38. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Sep 14, 2011
    60
    Will Reiser's semiautobiographical script initially prescribes too artificial a story treatment for its characters but is rescued by a genial, low-key vibe that builds in sensitivity and emotion up through the final reels.
  39. Reviewed by: David Ehrlich
    Sep 14, 2011
    60
    A soft and sweet cancer drama that hits with the force of an ill-timed hug.
  40. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Sep 29, 2011
    50
    A feel-good and slightly bad comedy-drama about a young man's fight against cancer, aims to put a tear in your eye and a sob in your throat, if not for long.
  41. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Sep 29, 2011
    50
    All these roles could have been found at a garage sale of comedy stereotypes. To the extent that 50/50 works, it is because of Gordon-Levitt, one of my favorite actors.
  42. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Sep 28, 2011
    25
    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.
User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 409 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 89 out of 97
  2. Negative: 2 out of 97
  1. Oct 7, 2011
    4
    novictim: What does anything have to do with your residency at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center? How does that make you more qualified to criticize this movie? You said that the jokes were juvenile. Is that what you diagnosed as you were making your rounds in the oncology department? Jokes about vomit, yeast infections, and dogs licking themselves are funny. Go give another poor soul at Kettering a frown. Full Review »
  2. Oct 2, 2011
    10
    I loved this film. It's been awhile since I gave a movie a 10 but I was cast into this movie's spell. I cared about all the characters, even though the Rogen character was a little close to being over the top. Levitt is absolutely perfect as the cancer stricken person holding all his emotions in, until he finally explodes the night before his surgery. I haven't cried at a movie in years but definitely teared up at this one. I'm glad the time of the year has arrived when the good movies are shown. Highly recommended. Deserves the great reviews it's getting. Full Review »
  3. Oct 3, 2011
    9
    Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a nice guy who finds out he has a serious form of cancer. While he deals with the unpleasant side effects of his treatment and the reactions of the women in his life, his best friend (Seth Rogen) supports him with plenty of humor. There are moments of pain and earnest drama, but a good laugh is never far away. Rogen shines with his constant comic comments and Gordon-Levitt delivers another touching, but strong performance. Don't be dismayed by the subject and enjoy the jokes! Full Review »