Thanks for Sharing is a well-meaning, sporadically entertaining and ultimately formulaic look at the struggles of a group of recovering sex addicts. The characters are mostly likable, and the film takes a compassionate stance toward them. But it seems a glossy, overly neat take on what should be an explosive topic.
Thanks for Sharing is a well-meaning, sporadically entertaining and ultimately formulaic look at the struggles of a group of recovering sex addicts.
The characters are mostly likable, and the film takes a compassionate stance toward them. But it seems a glossy, overly neat take on what should be an explosive topic.
Adam (Mark Ruffalo) is a New York professional celebrating five years of sexual sobriety. He has a system to keep his urges under control — the city offers endless temptations — and attends 12-step meetings. One day, his sponsor, Mike (Tim Robbins), suggests that he start dating again. Enter Phoebe (Gwyneth Paltrow), a cancer survivor who is deeply into fitness and meets Adam at a food event.
The hitch: Phoebe has bad memories of an alcoholic ex-boyfriend, so Adam is afraid to tell her about his problem. Mike has issues, too. He’s thrown for a loop when his druggie son (Patrick Fugit) returns home and insists he has gone cold turkey. Mike thinks the 12-step way is the only way and doesn’t believe the young man, creating a rupture in the family (including Joely Richardson as the mother).
As the Adam-Phoebe relationship starts and stalls, Adam also becomes a sponsor to Neil (Josh Gad), an obnoxious, porn-addicted doctor who will lose his job because of his addiction. The butt of some of the film’s rougher humor, Neil isn’t serious about the program and needs to change his tune. He gets some help from Dede (singer Pink, credited under her real name, Alecia Moore), a hard-edged young woman who has realized she can relate to men only through sex.
The acting is decent, but, once the characters are established, the expected obstacles and complications follow in an almost-rote manner.
Directing his first feature, Stuart Blumberg (who co-wrote The Kids Are All Right) rarely allows an unconventional moment. There are slapstick scenes, somber reflections, tears and a bit of uplift, and all of it seems pat.
Thanks for Sharing treats its characters’ problems seriously but without depth. The film has some virtues — it’s all about being supportive — but, in the end, resembles a million other middle-of-the-road Hollywood pictures.