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Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard. Anjelica Huston, Matt Frewer, Philip Baker Hall

Director: Jonathan Silverman

Despite attempts at lightening the atmosphere with the raucous, rough-tongued humour of Rogen as the central character's best friend Kyle, this is predictably gruelling stuff about Adam, a 27-year-old man (Gordon-Levitt) diagnosed with spinal cancer and given a 50/50 chance of survival.

His father (Serge Houde), who has Alzheimer's, hardly knows what's going on, but Adam's mother (Huston) is typically over-protective and distraught. His henna-haired girlfriend (another unsympathetic role for Howard) vows to look after him, but begins to look elsewhere even before the diagnosis.

Never mind, that nice young therapist (Kendrick), assigned to Adam's case, is waiting in the wings. But, as chemo fails and Adam sees fellow-patients die, things go downhill fairly fast.

Director Silverman fortunately spares us the less palatable indignities of Adam's condition - although when Kyle picks up girls on the strength of sympathy for his friend's condition, Adam finds sex hurts too much - making this in some respects cancer lite. All the same, there are some telling moments, notably when Adam finds a much-thumbed book on facing cancer together in Kyle's ramshackle apartment, and realises that beneath the loud-mouthed braggadocio lurks a caring soul.

David Quinlan

Canada 2011. UK Distributor: Lionsgate. Technicolor.
98 minutes. Not Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 2, Swearing 3.

Review date: 22 Nov 2011