You wouldn’t think a movie about a young man getting cancer could be funny and charming but this movie somehow does it. The film follows Adam(Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who at the beginning has a job at a small news radio station, has a hot artist girl friend and a funny best friend named Kyle(Seth Rogen). Then after a doctor visit he finds out he has cancer in his back by his spine. At first he takes this well but slowly the weight builds on him and he has to break down. Adam keeps a brave face on through most of it. So much so he allows people around him to use him in a way. He plays it off so well, he almost seems to have a good time shaving his head. Kyle takes his out thinking his buddy having cancer is a good way to pick up chicks. Adam’s girl friend played by Bryce Dallas-Howard, who recently seem to be placed in the “bitch” role over and over. Well here she does a good job, their relationship didn’t seem strong to start with but once he figures out he has cancer things fall apart, she ends up cheating on him and he kicks her out.
The film goes by very quickly mainly because the performances are so good. Joseph Gordon-Levitt should be considered for awards when nominations come along. We really go through a lot with his character Adam from start to finish. He wants to be calm and collected, confident all the way through but it becomes harder for him. Director Jonathan Levine does a real beautiful job here. The film could have hammered us in many places and try and overwhelm you with sadness. Instead things happen very naturally and it was a breath of fresh air. Adam’s mother played amazingly well by Angelica Huston is smothering but really just loves her son. His father has alzheimer’s disease and can barely remember a thing. Adam finds himself very alone, minus the times where he’s smoking weed with Kyle.
The sweeter moments are between Adam and his hospital ordered therapist, who later becomes the love interest. She’s played by Anna Kendrick, since first noticing her in “Up in The Air” she is really something. She’s charming and heart warming with Levitt and never at any point does their relationship feel fake. Also Levitt and Rogen play well off each other and are very funny in places. Rogen amazingly allows himself to come off sort of scum baggie here as he tries to get laid by having Adam meet girls and using him having cancer as an in. Later though his character steps up and becomes the stoner nice guy we all want them to be.
The only problem for this movie is that for some reason the over all themes and arcs aren’t huge here. Everything is done so minor and so small. I get it’s about guy fighting through cancer, but Adam’s way of dealing with it almost makes the movie feel pointless. It just doesn’t really feel special. So I can’t suggest seeing this in theaters. There really isn’t any reason. It’s more for a movie night at home. It’s charming but it feels short and over all the movie isn’t very over whelming, it’s good don’t get me wrong but just doesn’t feel special.