Synopsis: A romantic comedy that brings together three disparate characters who are learning to face a challenging and often confusing world as they struggle together against a common demon: sex addiction.
Stars: Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins, Gwyneth Paltrow, Joely Richardson, Patrick Fugit, Josh Gad, Alecia Moore
Director: Stuart Blumberg
Running Length: 112 minutes
Trailer Review: Here
TMMM Score: (3/10)
Review: I was supposed to attend a screening of Thanks for Sharing with a friend visiting from out of town. Plans changed at the last minute so I found myself in the theater alone for an early morning look at this dramedy and for the first 45 minutes, I was disappointed that I was there solo. You see, I thought my friend was missing out on a chance to see a breezy and engaging look into the lives of several members of a support group for sex addiction. It wasn’t long after that first quarter hour, though, that I began to realize my friend was the lucky one in this equation.
It’s around the halfway point that the film becomes aimless and worst of all, charmless. The congenial air that writer/director Stuart Blumberg (The Kids Are All Right) pumps into the first half is deflated by a second act that gets bogged down in trivial emotions and obnoxious performances. What’s left must be seen as an unbalanced cinematic outing, one that never reclaims the promise of independence that arrived at the outset.
So what went wrong, exactly?
The success story here is the charming courtship of recovering sex addict Mark Ruffalo (Marvel’s The Avengers, Now You See Me) and cancer survivor Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man 3). She’s dealt with death, recovered, and doesn’t want to spend her time worrying about a mate that has serious hang-ups. Ruffalo sees that that poses a problem for their future so forgets to mention the meetings he attends and why he may not want to go all the way on the first date. Instead of this turning into another “Big Secret I Can’t Tell” frustrating plot device, Blumberg deals with it rather succinctly and lets this adult relationship go through its peaks and valleys naturally. Ruffalo is one of the most underrated actors, respected though he is, and his contribution to this film is invaluable. Paltrow, too, succeeds in role where we feel she’s letting her guard down and really being the amiable person she appears to be.
Good work also comes from Tim Robbins (The Shawshank Redemption), Joely Richardson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and Patrick Fugit (We Bought a Zoo) as a family of addicts/enablers cautiously finding new footing and trying to forgive the past. Though Robbins tends to speak in dime store self-help book talk, the actor brings a certain gravitas to the dialogue that makes it ring true.
The problem couple here is a greatly miscast Alecia Moore (aka Pink) and the ever-annoying Josh Gad. Moore is a gifted musician and songwriter and it’s probably best she stick to music because her acting isn’t convincing in the least, watching her struggle through some serious scenes isn’t very fun. Gad’s man-child shtick was old the minute he used it in Love & Other Drugs and though he’s had good showings in 2013 with The Internship and jOBS, he’s back in Jack Black-wannabe form here.
I’d say the problem lies less with Blumberg’s script, contrived and conventional as it is, but in its ensemble structure. The best kinds of ensemble pictures (e.g. any Robert Altman film) succeed because every character is interesting/appealing in some way or another. If we don’t like peeking in the lives of the people featured in overlapping stories, there’s room for the audience to start to distance themselves from the ensemble as a whole.
Thanks, but no Thanks.