A few years ago, Joseph Gordon-Levitt mixed vulnerability with a deadpan sense of humor in "(500) Days of Summer." He seems to be back in strong form with his upcoming cancer dramedy "50/50," whose trailer debuted over the weekend.
That performance looks to be enough to offset the presence of Seth Rogen, back as a slacker buddy making weed and anatomy jokes for the 347th time. Is Rogen's acting limited by the roles he keeps getting, or does keep getting those roles because his acting is limited? Either way, it's easy to see past the Rogen-ness of it all with the rest of the stellar Gen Y lineup -- in addition to Gordon-Levitt, Anna Kendrick ("Up in the Air") makes a welcome return as a therapist. And the whole thing comes from director Jonathan Levine," the young filmmaker who turned in a well-received debut with "The Wackness" in 2008.
Based on the real life (and script), of real-life cancer survivor Will Reiser, "50/50" does face a marketing challenge: convincing a comedy audience to see a movie about cancer. So far, it's doing that by playing up the humor (even the part when Gordon-Levitt's Will learns the bad news has a joke in it)
and playing down the illness. (The title, for instance, was changed from "I'm with Cancer.") Studio Summit has some time to get the message out -- the movie doesn't come out until Sept. 30.
-- Steven Zeitchik