A call to all Seth Rogen haters: Cease and go see '50/50'

50-50

Image Credit: Chris Helcermanas-Benge

Despite strong reviews (EW’s own Lisa Schwarzbaum gave it a solid B+ rating) and stellar performances — why so little Oscar talk for Joseph Gordon-Levitt in this? — the touching and funny 50/50 didn’t fare nearly as well as it could have at the box office over the weekend. (It came in fourth place with a so-so $8.9 million.) For some, it’s because the idea of sitting through a cancer movie, no matter how many moments of levity it may have, seems unbearable. For others, it’s the idea of sitting through a Seth Rogen movie.

If that is, in fact, the reason why some stayed away from 50/50 this weekend, that’s a shame, really. Not only does the movie find the perfect balance of humorous and sad (this film would undoubtedly be Oprah ugly-cry-approved), but it also happens to be Rogen’s best work to date. Perhaps it’s because of his deeply personal ties to the story (50/50 is written by Rogen’s real-life friend Will Reiser, who based the script loosely on his own battles with cancer). Or because there’s no resemblance to Green Hornet anywhere to be found. Either way, I’d be shocked that if after seeing this, Rogen haters would still feel the same way about him.

Then again, I never really understood all the hate for the newly wed Rogen in the first place. Sure, he had a stretch of overexposure there (a trap which fellow funny men like Zach Galifianakis, Will Ferrell, and Ben Stiller also fell victim to at one point in their careers), and his laugh sounds as though someone got a Muppet high, but the guy is undoubtedly talented. He co-wrote Superbad and helped propel Knocked Up to become one of the biggest comedy hits of all-time. And come on guys, he’s Ken Miller!

Perhaps I just have an allegiance to my fellow curly-haired comrades in arms, but I really think Rogen’s recent performance could change some minds. Yes, the stoner comedy is still there. (Hey, at least it’s medicinal this time.) Yes, he plays a bit of a man-child hell-bent on getting himself — and his sick friend — laid, but there’s a layer to the performance that brings something we’ve never really seen from Rogen before. Here’s a guy who doesn’t know exactly what to do for someone who is battling cancer (who does?), but is still doing everything he can to help his best friend through the toughest thing he’s ever endured. Now, what’s not to like about that?

Did you see 50/50 over the weekend, PopWatchers? If so, did you go in as a Seth Rogen lover or hater? Did the movie change your opinion of him? Share in the comments section below!

Read more:
’50/50′: Exclusive Behind-the-Scenes Pics!
’50/50′ movie poster: Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt will make you laugh and cry
Anna Kendrick talks cancer dramedy ’50/50′

Comments (48 total) Add your comment
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  • kmb

    I liked the movie. I hated Seth Rogen. I’m not a fan. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, however, was fantastic. He probably won’t get any nominations or anything because everyone’s just gonna write this off as another “Seth Rogen movie”, which is a shame.

    • K

      I have nothing against Seth Rogen, but what you describe as liking is the character, not Rogen’s performance. He’s a good writer, no argument, even if he does resort to stoner comedy way too much, but honestly he’s not stretching any acting muscles at all here. At all.

    • K

      That wasn’t supposed to be a reply to @kmb. Sorry!

  • tvgirl48

    I have the problem with Seth Rogen I have with Michael Cera – the movies change, but the character stays the same. But Joseph Gordon Levitt’s awesomeness cancels out Rogen here. I also think it helps that Rogen isn’t front and center the whole time.

    • Amy

      Watch both Observe and Report and Funny People and then say that Seth Rogen always plays the same character.

      I don’t honestly have a problem with Michael Cera doing his thing. He’s good at it, and I think that when the time comes, he will be ready to graduate to more diverse roles.

  • jackjackmcmack

    I don’t HATE Seth Rogen but I don’t love him. His laugh is annoying and sometimes his voice is just grating, but most of his movies are funny. I mean, you can’t really watch Knocked Up more than once (and I don’t know if I’d watch 50/50 multiple times), but I really liked Superbad and I loved Freaks&Geeks. In small doses he’s great and I think that even though he’s top-billed with JGL he’s not overexposed in the movie. I laughed more than I thought I would and the movie was also a bit sad at times, but I really liked it. Perfect amount of Seth Rogen and he was reined back just enough to not be grating.

    • Deb

      Believe it or not, I’ve never seen a Seth Rogen movie before. I’m 40 something, so I’m thinking I’m not his target demographic. That being said, I saw 50/50 this weekend and loved it. I thought that it was a perfect mix of funny and sad; I both laughed and cried. I loved Joseph Gordon Levitt and I WISH he would get some Oscar consideration because his performance was amazing!

    • SaraS

      Tell that to E! – they play Knocked Up about twice a day. Ugh.

  • Lola

    Seth Rogan is not funny and his writing sucks. His movies aren’t good either. I really don’t know what the hoopla with him is all about. Now, Levitt is a great actor. i will watch on netflix and not theater.

    • JB

      1. Zach G has not “fallen victim” to overexposure. Writer – way to stretch.
      2. You’re saying he’s undoubtedly talented b/c he was in Superbad and Knocked Up!? Two films in which he played an unemployed giggly stoner? Oh and yet you forgot to mention Pineapple Express.. and ya say 50/50 he’s the same character? HMM. These are okay to good films, but come on – no wonder people are bored of him. He just seems like that type of person in real life – nice, unassuming, lazy, pothead, undeserving of such fame and acclaim.
      3. Green Hornet – really, Rogen??
      4. It was totally douche-y how he kept slamming Entourage. Probably jealous they never invited him on.
      5. HOWEVER: I do want to see this movie. A friend saw it and said it perfectly captured Seattle, my hometown. Sounds good to me

      • Ltr

        She actually said it was bc he wrote Superbad. He was a cop in that movie. Neither unemployed nor giggly.

  • red

    Seth Rogen plays the same character in every movie–the obnoxious, insensitive guy who will do anything to get laid. His range is non-existent. I saw 50/50 and wondered how his performance was different from the *other* cancer movie where he’s the bewildered bystander, Funny People. I hate stoner personas. But JGL was pretty good and he deserves more accolades.

  • roberta

    i don’t hate seth rogen either. i just feel that if katherine heigl gets chastised for making the same bad movies and playing the same character, then seth rogen should as well. it’s kind of a trend that i’ve noticed, actresses are always being questioned for their talent by choosing a kind of role, or occupying a niche (ie: angelina, jennifers both aniston and garner, anne hathaway), whereas when actors show limitations in their work (ie: rogen, will cera, jason bateman, ryan reynolds, tom cruise), it’s ignored or explained away that they’re “charismatic” personalities on camera, and those limitations don’t matter. with that said, i saw 50/50 and i enjoyed it. jgl should be a bigger star.

    • roberta

      corrections, michael cera. mah bad y’all

    • Amy

      The difference is that Seth Rogen can actually at least sort of act and displays a minimal amount of discretion when it comes to choosing roles. It’s not a double standard. I hear just as many people (if not more) complaining about Michael Cera as Jennifer Aniston – both of who, by the way, I like. And whatever you think of Tom Cruise, he is not in any way limited. Anne Hathaway is also starting to develop more depth as an actress.

  • Katie

    I have a huge crush on Seth Rogan and plan to see this soon. I think this movie looks great!

  • rico foy

    Rogan has that same stupid befuddled look on his face in every still I see from this flick. No thanks.

  • MCJ

    Seth is okay so long as he isn’t required to take on a character that isn’t exactly like him. He’s funny…but versatile…no.

  • J

    no this is really his best role to date…good article..so much better than Funny People, he ruined that movie

  • jamie

    Seth Rogan, Jonah Hill both are douches.

  • marilinda

    i love seth rogen. and have loved him since i saw him on freaks and geeks when i was in college. i don’t care if he plays the same in every movie. i love him.

  • JoeC

    Did you really think a movie about someone battling cancer would do that well? Movies are still seen as escapism; look at the ‘Lion King’ still doing so well…

    • Anne

      Simba’s father is killed right in front of him. This is less tragic than cancer?

      • bob

        in the words of chandler, “yeah it was really sad when the guy stopped drawing the [lion].” i love the lion king as much as the next person, and i know plenty of people who get very emotional during parts (including the one you mentioned) , but it’s hardly more tragic than cancer, be it in a bad movie or a good one. at the end of the day, 50/50 can be described as “that cancer movie,” whereas the lion king has the benefit of being described as “that disney movie with the lions.”

  • The Other Guy

    He may not be the most creative dude in Hollywood, but I am a fan of the big guy, just because he’s hysterical and a very good screenwriter. Plus, he’s the same religion as me. Keep it up bro.

    • bugsy

      Thanks for being honest about liking him because he’s the same religon as you. BTW, if he wasnt jewish we wouldnt be talking about him. There’s no way a fat, ugly, untalented, obnoxious gentile could make multiple movies in hollywood.

  • JB

    1. Zach G has not “fallen victim” to overexposure. Writer – way to stretch.
    2. You’re saying he’s undoubtedly talented b/c he was in Superbad and Knocked Up!? Two films in which he played an unemployed giggly stoner? Oh and yet you forgot to mention Pineapple Express.. and ya say 50/50 he’s the same character? HMM. These are okay to good films, but come on – no wonder people are bored of him. He just seems like that type of person in real life – nice, unassuming, lazy, pothead, undeserving of such fame and acclaim.
    3. Green Hornet – really, Rogen??
    4. It was totally douche-y how he kept slamming Entourage. Probably jealous they never invited him on.
    5. HOWEVER: I do want to see this movie. A friend saw it and said it perfectly captured Seattle, my hometown. Sounds good to me.

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