Review: Thanks For Sharing
Three sex addicts at different stages in their recovery process deal with relationships new and old while trying to stay healthy and honest about their issues.
Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins, and Josh Gad are our three different generations of sex addicts. Gwyneth Paltrow, not at all shy in this role, gets close to Ruffalo, while Gad meets a nymphomaniac in Alecia Moore (Pink).
At its best, Thanks for Sharing is poignant, sharp, and compelling; at its worst, it’s silly, unsure, and derivative.
It’s the unfortunate dichotomy of a film that is torn between two tones. In one corner, it wants to be a drama about addiction infused with love and charm. This would be the Ruffalo storyline, as his character Adam, a sponser to a younger addict and sponsee of an older one, tries to navigate a newfound relationship while continuing to put at bay the demons of the past.
In the other corner, however, sits a raunchy sex comedy, which is where the Josh Gad thread starts and then pops up elsewhere every now and then. This notion wants to chortle about awkward sexual encounters and following the portly, masturbatory young man who can’t help but fantasize and isn’t allowed to ride the subway.
These diverging attitudes towards the film are especially evident by looking at two promoting posters: one speaks of love, and another makes a sexual pun. The better film is the more serious one, but because it can’t decide which way to go, both suffer.
Gad, who has proven his chops on Broadway and shows his more dramatic, sensitive side later in the story, doesn’t need to be relegated to such collegiate antics, and neither does the film. Ruffalo too is especially winning, and his cutesy blossoming relationship with Gwyneth Paltrow’s quirk and sexually open Phoebe, while sort of annoying, is where the film is at its best.
Tim Robbins’ evolution is somewhere in between. He plays Mike, a patriarchal, old-school man who is married, estranged from his son, and living next door to loud antagonist. The lives of these three men intersect early and often, and with Gad and Robbins especially, their problems are clear, and paths predictable.
It’s a hopeful film though, and conversations between the three men, and the ones that Adam has with Phoebe, hint at the emotional and complex. When they treat sex addiction as a serious issue, the film hits its mark. When writer and director Stuart Blumberg, who wrote the script for The Kids Are Alright, discusses sex from the perspective of a college freshman, it goes off the rails.
It may be easier for some to ignore these major lows, especially since the highs are powerful. The three leading men are superb, and the folksy conversations between Ruffalo and Paltrow are infectiously delightful. It’s just frustrating at how much better this could have been with a few omissions.
Should You See It?
Certainly worth a viewing, there is a lot to be enjoyed – it’s just too bad there is some sex romp antics thrown in.