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The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

INT. JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT'S HOUSE

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT exits the shower as his girlfriend BRYCE DALLAS HOWARD awakes.

BRYCE DALLAS HOWARD

Joseph, have I told you lately that you're such a nice guy? That's just to briefly throw you off the scent in case I'm soon revealed to be a cold-hearted bitch.

SETH ROGEN arrives to drive JOSEPH to work, because JOSEPH is SUCH A NICE GUY. This fact is BATTERED REMORSELESSLY into the audience's SKULLS.

SETH ROGEN

You know Bryce is a cold-hearted bitch, right? All I'm basing that on is the fact you haven't had sex recently, but that seems like a perfectly justifiable reason for me to hate her guts.

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT

That was established even quicker than I would have suspected.

SETH ROGEN

Now let's go participate in threadbare workplace-related activities, in order to convince people we're three-dimensional.

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT

Good plan. We absolutely have lives outside of being a smarmy fat stoner and an apathetic wet blanket.

INT. A DOCTOR'S OFFICE

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT is sitting meekly in a chair. Dr ANDREW AIRLIE enters.

ANDREW AIRLIE

Bla bla medical jargon bla schwarnoma bla. By the way, you have cancer, not that I give a damn.

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT

Wait, that's the way you deliver the diagnosis? It's a good job I'm such a nice guy or I might take issue with your wildly unprofessional manner.

ANDREW AIRLIE

You're right. Let me compensate for my amateurish medical practices by referring you to amateur medical practitioner Anna Kendrick.

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT

I reluctantly accept.

INT. JOSEPH'S HOUSE

JOSEPH and BRYCE are eating dinner with JOSEPH's parents, ANJELICA HUSTON and SERGE HOUDE.

ANJELICA HUSTON

So, why did you invite us over? Particularly your father with his severe degenerative mental illness.

SERGE HOUDE

Hello.

SERGE does NOTHING RELEVANT for the rest of the MOVIE.

ANJELICA HUSTON

Of course, for some reason no healthcare professionals can be trusted, which explains why I'm compelled to barely manage looking after him myself. Anyway, hurry up, I'm only scheduled to be here long enough to out-act everyone in the movie.

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT

Well... I have cancer.

ANJELICA HUSTON

(acts the shit out of everyone)

INT. A PSYCHIATRIST'S OFFICE

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT is sitting on a couch talking to ANNA KENDRICK. Her presence lends a QUIRKY INDIE SENSIBILITY.

ANNA KENDRICK

As I'm technically still a student and you are only my third patient ever, it would be literal career suicide for me to develop feelings for you, let alone for us to begin a sexual relationship.

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT

Good luck with that. Did I mention I have terminal cancer?

ANNA KENDRICK

(swoon)

INT. HOSPITAL

JOSEPH is getting CHEMO and sitting meekly until he's noticed by PHILIP BAKER HALL and MATT FREWER.

PHILIP BAKER HALL

Hey kid, you must be a nice guy, because apparently only old folks or nice guys get cancer. Have a hash cake.

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT

No thanks, I don't do drugs because I'm such a nice guy. Hey Seth, you're not even supposed to be here, why are you hanging around?

SETH ROGEN

No reason. Say, is that a hash cake?

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT

There'll be plenty of chances for you to get gratuitously high later, let's at least pretend for now you're a real person and not a rotund Jew-fro'd caricature.

MATT FREWER

Yeah, later we can all head to my house and get baked. I imagine my wife will sit quietly indoors wishing she could spend our last few weeks together alone, rather than in the forced company of complete strangers.

SETH ROGEN

Awesome!

INT. JOSEPH'S HOUSE

BRYCE is cuddling JOSEPH as SETH bursts in.

SETH ROGEN

Your girlfriend is a cold-hearted bitch and I finally have proof! After I selfishly used you as a pestilential wingman to score a date with a random chick at the bookstore, I totally ogled Bryce cheating on you.

SETH shows JOSEPH pictures on his phone of BRYCE making out with a DIRTY HIPPY.

BRYCE DALLAS HOWARD

What can I say, it turns out cancer needed a more traditional antagonist as backup.

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT

This is certainly less than desirable. However, I won't object to being picked up and discarded at whim, like some cancer-flavoured popsicle.

SETH ROGEN

Dude, if you overplay this nice guy shtick you're just going to come across as a listless sad-sack.

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT

It's one of the few risks I'm willing to take.

EXT. BUS STOP

JOSEPH is waiting for the BUS. ANNA pulls up and offers him a lift, which he RELUCTANTLY ACCEPTS.

ANNA KENDRICK

You don't seem to be serious about your cancer. You're dealing with a major illness, it's not just another workaday story where the sidekick dispenses dry quips and the hero beats the baddie to get the girl at the end.

(pause)

At least, I hope not.

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT

Holy crap, your car is filled with trash. Despite usually being such a nice guy, I insist you pull over so we can tidy up. This is apparently the angriest I ever get.

ANNA KENDRICK

A terminal disease AND mild OCD? I am so moist right now. Here's my phone number.

INT. JOSEPH'S HOUSE

JOSEPH and SETH are probably a bit HIGH.

SETH ROGEN

Dude, now that you've finally grown some balls and ditched Bryce, we should exploit your life-threatening illness to score some chicks.

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT

I don't know, that just doesn't seem plausible.

SETH ROGEN

Are you kidding? Cancer is, like, the second-sexiest disease after AIDS.

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT

Well, I can't argue with that.

SETH ROGEN

With your deteriorative medical condition and my stale pot breath, we'll be a dynamic pussy-hunting duo. We'll be like fucking Batman and...

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT

(stares)

SETH ROGEN

(pause)

I'll get my coat.

INT. A BAR

SETH and JOSEPH are making small-talk with two RANDOM SLUTS.

SETH ROGEN

So whaddya say girls, does one of you fancy screwing Joseph?

RANDOM SLUT

I don't know. I mean, he seems like a nice guy, but if only he had some sort of malignant tumour eating away at his insides. Girls love shit like that.

JOSEPH takes off his hat to reveal his shaven cranium.

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT

You mean like... CANCER?

RANDOM SLUT

(swoon)

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT

So, how about we all head back to my place to abuse my medicinal marijuana prescription?

SETH ROGEN

Marijuana, you say? Now it's MY time to shine.

INT. JOSEPH'S BEDROOM

The RANDOM SLUT is straddling JOSEPH's BONER. He grimaces in pain because of all the CANCER.

RANDOM SLUT

This is so hot.

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT

And yet strangely unfulfilling.

SETH ROGEN

(off screen)

Wait, I help get you laid and you don't even have the courtesy to cum? Damn bro, maybe you're not always such a nice guy after all.

SETH lights another joint, as his talent agent NODS APPROVINGLY.

INT. HOSPITAL

JOSEPH and PHILIP are getting more CHEMO. The chair next to PHILIP is empty.

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT

Hey, what happened to Moloch?

PHILIP BAKER HALL

Someone framed Rorschach for his murder. No, seriously, he had terminal cancer, do you need me to spell it out for you? He died.

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT

Huh. What are the odds of that?

PHILIP BAKER HALL

Well, there were two of us with cancer, and only one survived, so I'd say about... oh, I see what you did there.

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT

Subtle, right?

INT. ANNA'S OFFICE

JOSEPH is once again on the couch.

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT

I just don't get it. I'm such a nice guy and yet everyone keeps feeling sorry for me, and offering their help and support! It's so unreasonable.

ANNA KENDRICK

You know, you're actually kind of a dick. You don't seem to care about your personal relationships, and even though Anjelica acts the shit out of you, you still ignore her obvious pleas for help with your dying father.

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT

This is the one moment of genuine revelation I needed to make amends with my friends and family before I die.

ANNA KENDRICK

Just so we're clear, I still want a ride on your tumour-ridden wang.

INT. SETH'S CAR

JOSEPH is displaying some ANGER about the fact he might die, which is ABOUT GODDAMN TIME.

SETH ROGEN

Look, I know this has been hard for both of us, but you're a fucking boy wonder, you'll make it through.

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT

Wow, I finally realise there's more to you than inappropriate sarcastic wit and a ridiculous appetite for weed, you're actually a true friend.

SETH ROGEN

That's right bitches, I'm not just foul-mouthed comic relief after all!

JOSEPH finally succumbs to his CANCER after months of struggle. It is UNEXPECTED and genuinely MOVING.

SCREENWRITER WILL REISER

Wait, what the fuck? This whole thing is supposed to be *my* true story. Do I look dead to you?

DIRECTOR JONATHAN LEVINE

But by eschewing the saccharine Hollywood paradigm of the tidy denouement and subverting the true story on which the movie is based, we've created an original and memorable film with surprising emotional weight.

SCREENWRITER WILL REISER

Fuck that shit, Seth Rogen himself actually helped me beat cancer, we're doing the happy ending. It's not like him shouldering the burden of Joseph's cancer and watching his best friend slowly die just to help make his final days more bearable could somehow show him in a positive light. Right Seth?

SETH ROGEN

(exhales pot smoke)

DIRECTOR JONATHAN LEVINE

And we came so close.

INT. JOSEPH'S HOUSE

SETH is rubbing some medicinal GOO into JOSEPH'S horrendously disfiguring SURGICAL SCAR.

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT

Well, I'm alive after all. What are the odds of that?

SETH ROGEN

Dude, we double-teamed the shit out of what turned out to be a completely bog-standard adversary after all. But it feels like we need one last thing to really hammer home such a missed opportunity.

ANNA arrives.

ANNA KENDRICK

I'm glad we formalised our personal relationship so I could flush $50,000 in education costs and 8-9 years of study down the toilet.

SETH ROGEN

Yep, that'll do it.

ANNA KENDRICK

But Joseph, now that you're no longer dying inside, I don't know if I still find you attractive!

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT

Have you seen my horrendously disfiguring surgical scar?

ANNA KENDRICK

(swoon)

END