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Up to Code?

Rule No. 17: Tears are impermissible outside of a death in the family and/or the retirement of an athletic legend.

Early in “50/50,” Mr. Gordon-Levitt’s character, Adam, prepares for chemotherapy by shaving his head. He does so with the help of Mr. Rogen’s character, Kyle, who helpfully has provided a set of hair clippers.

Standing in front of a mirror, the two share the following exchange:

Adam: What do you use [these clippers] for?

Kyle: [Pause]. My body.

The scene - an unscripted exchange added near the end of preproduction - typifies the oft-funny approach the film takes to a mortally serious subject, the same approach Mr. Reiser and Mr. Rogen took in real life.

“We went through cancer together,” Mr. Reiser said. “Neither of us knew how to deal with it.”

“We weren’t very emotive,” Mr. Rogen said.

“We weren’t equipped with the tools to express our emotions,” Mr. Reiser said. “We’re comedy writers, so there was a lot of humorous banter.”

“We didn’t really talk about the awkward emotional things until we sat down to write the movie,” Mr. Rogen said

Such is the Code. And such are its limitations. During a recent airplane flight, Mr. Greif chatted with a seatmate, a man in his early 30s.

The man told Mr. Grief he had moved to a new town and was having a hard time making friends. Playing tennis, he had met another man whose company he enjoyed - only he was afraid that if he called the other man to pursue a closer friendship, the other man would consider him “a stalker.”

I think men are missing out,” Mr. Heasley said. “In our culture, men have a lot more isolation than women. We’re more likely to commit suicide and not get mental health assistance.”

Mr. Heasley said that his wife once told him that as a woman, she was glad she could relax with friends and not have to worry about proving her womanhood.

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