Thanks For Sharing
Gwyneth Paltrow, Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins, Josh Gad and Alecia "Pink" Moore shine in an unconventional romantic comedy that follows the topsy-turvy lives and loves of three obsessive characters.
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Mature sex-addiction dramedy has some highs but also lows.
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Tomatometer®reviews counted: 20see all Thanks For Sharing reviews
Top Critic Reviews
Rotten: Be warned: viewers may experience a violent urge to shake the characters, one by one, and tell them to get a life.
- Anthony Lane, New Yorker, Monday, September 30, 2013
Rotten: At least most of the cast is appealing, with Mark Ruffalo, Gwyneth Paltrow, Josh Gad, and Alecia Moore (better known as pop singer Pink) delivering the uninspired dialogue with relative finesse.
- Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, Thursday, October 3, 2013
Rotten: Blumberg's film spends its running time showing us that sexual addiction is a disease like any other, and it does a convincing job. It's elsewhere that the film falters.
- Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic, Thursday, September 19, 2013
Much better than I expected. Unusual topic for a rom com, being about addiction. I can't stand Pink, but have to give her credit for playing a good part. Emily Meade as Becky was the standout for me. She had a fairly small role, but was very moving. I really warned to know more about her character.
- romy861, Thursday, October 17, 2013
"Isn't sex addiction one of those things guys make up when they're caught cheating?" asks a character in Thanks for Sharing. This movie treats the topic of sex addiction very seriously, rattling off plenty of adverse side effects rather than just a wandering eye. Director and co-writer Stuart Blumberg (The Kids Are All Right) is certainly empathetic to his characters on screen. I just wish the movie knew what it wanted to be. We follow three sex addicts in one therapy group, all at different points of recovery. Mike (Tim Robbins) is the paternal figure of the group. He's long been married to his high school sweetheart. Adam (Mark Ruffalo) is five years sober and being prodded by Mike to start seriously dating again. He meets Phoebe (Gwyneth Paltrow), a cancer survivor, and hides his addiction from her. Worst of all is Neil (Josh Gad), a doctor who has been mandated to attend sex addict group therapy after "bumping" into people on the subway and recording an upskirt video of his boss. He doesn't believe he has a problem, but, under the guidance of Adam and Mike, comes to the conclusion that the only person who can fix his impulses is himself. Thanks for Sharing is an admittedly entertaining movie, at turns, but it's a movie with one debilitating identity crises. What kind of movie does it want to be tonally? We get raunchy sex gags, and then the film transitions into rom-com fluff, and then the film transitions into hard-hitting addict drama, and then it's all back again. All of these elements could have been carefully threaded into one movie, but Blumberg and co-writer Matt Winston cannot nail down a consistent tone. In fact many of the changes can be quite jarring. One minute people are engaged in wacky sex hijinks, and the next they're lamenting all the horrible life choices they've made in tears. When there isn't a clear tone, or clear transitions, then the comedy undercuts the drama and vice versa. Therefore, certain elements can be appreciated or be found engaging, but the movie cannot become more than the sum of its parts. And let me get into whether sex addiction is really a topic that can work in the realm of romantic comedy. With the right finesse anything can be presented in a comedic light that still maintains the humanity and dignity of its flawed characters. However, is something as easily misunderstood as sex addiction, whose particulars can be quite appalling to many, the right fit for a genre that is predicated on whimsical coupling? I don't think so. Thanks for Sharing doesn't change my mind. About that rom-com part, notably the relationship between Adam and Phoebe, it's easily the least interesting part of the film. Both of these characters are fairly bland. Adam's the sober guy trying to keep things going, except that we never really feel like he's challenged. We don't feel the threat that he's going to relapse. And we don't really get to know much else about the guy. He vaguely works for some sort of environmental firm. As a character, he is defined by Phoebe, herself a collection of quirks that doesn't coalesce to form a human being. The film weirdly keeps harping on the fact that Phoebe likes her food to not touch, as if this minor peculiarity is some harbinger of a greater OCD complex (she's into physical fitness!). The fact that other characters have to jump in on this makes it even more transparently reaching. Worse than all this, the couple's interactions, and much of their budding relationship, feels overwhelmingly artificial. The dialogue should be sparking, charming, but you get no real sense of why either of these people would fall for the other, excluding the obvious physical attributes of each. The rom-com convention of the Big Secret (Adam's addiction) is left dangling until, surprise, it's defused early. I'd expect the movie to push further since there is a wealth of drama to be had about the trust levels of dating a sex addict, but instead it just forces them apart all too easy. Then there's the fact that the movie covers perhaps a month of time and their relationship seems to move ridiculously fast, mostly because Blumberg is impatient for his couple to get to a more physically intimate stage. Thanks for Sharing works far better as a darker drama, and as a movie, when it focuses on the roles of Mike and Neil. The film smartly connects sex addiction with other impulse control issues; for Mike he's been sober from booze for 15 years, and for Neill he has weight control issues. These are the characters we see struggle, these are the characters at the more interesting points. Neill especially is a doctor whose hit rock bottom and can't get away from the felonious things his addiction tempts him to do. Mike has a surrogate family with his support group. Now that his prodigal son (Patrick Fugit) returns, that adds tension to his family dynamic, both at home and in group. I would have preferred Thanks for Sharing to be told chiefly from the perspective of these characters, eliminating Adam and Phoebe altogether. But even these good storylines find themselves wading into all-too familiar plot devices. Mike's arc involves reconnecting with his son, which will lead to a misunderstanding, a conflict, and ultimately forgiveness, and you see every step coming. Neill's journey gets an unexpected boost when he takes initiative to help Dede (Pink a.k.a. Alecia Moore), one of the only ladies in group. Of course it takes a pretty girl to push Neill out of his selfishness and self-loathing, but he does progress, and it's the most emotionally rewarding moment in the film. The problem is that Neill's storyline is tied up in a platonic head-scratcher. Dede takes Neill to a dance hall where they are just there to... dance, but the kind of dancing that hipsters do. It all seems like something for people on drugs, but whatever reason, Neill shaking his groove thing, and coming to an understanding that he will not be touching Dede, makes his character better. I was surprised that Blumberg was able to end the movie on something of a downbeat, falling back to the central message of one day at a time, vigilance. There is one standout scene that really gets to the scariness of sex addiction succinctly. Once Adam falls off the wagon, which shouldn't be much of a spoiler people, he regroups with Becky (Emily Meade) a gal he had a one-night stand with. Their flirtation is quick, settling into their attraction, and then she engages in behavior that, meant to be alluring, is rather insightful. She has a daddy fixation and wants to be punished as a "bad girl" with Adam pretending to be her stern father. That could be a red flag, but Adam carries on. Then she asks him to slap her. Adam refuses. So she does it herself, beating herself, eventually descending into a mess of tears, screaming. Adam tries to console her, stupidly deciding to try and make contact with her after she keeps screaming, "Don't touch me!" She locks herself in the bathroom and threatens to harm herself. This one moment in the film gets at the damage of sex addiction like nothing else. It points to possible abuse, but really it all falls apart so rapidly that your head is spinning. The conclusion is pat and anticlimactic, but the lead-up is fantastic. If the rest of the movie had been thematically closer to this scene, Thanks for Sharing would be worth sharing. From an acting standpoint, the cast does a fine job portraying their characters and his or her respective foibles. Ruffalo (The Avengers) is a bit too even keeled for his character. Gad (Jobs, The Internship) is the film's comedic spark but also its greatest source of internal drama, which Gad handles well, showcasing the desperation of Neill. The real surprise is actually pop singer Pink in her first real acting performance (Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle counts under no circumstances). Her introductory monologue, which she nails, makes you take notice that Pink has some genuine acting muscles. Thanks for Sharing is an uneven mishmash of genres and ideas, rarely settling down into something worthy of the talent at work here. The comedy works against the drama, the drama works against the comedy, the clichd character developments don't serve anyone, and the overall artificial nature of the central rom-com coupling drags the enjoyment level further down. There is good work here, good acting and some memorable scenes and offhand laughs, but all Thanks for Sharing can amount to is a series of scant moments, passing encounters of entertainment. I didn't find many of the characters to be as nearly compelling as the filmmakers did, and some of their hasty resolutions and developments feel far too simple for an addiction this complicated. The potential of the film is never fully realized. While I'm doubtful rom-com is a good fit for a serious exploration on sex addiction (wasn't Shame hilarious?), it does lend itself to a bevy of juicy setups and possibilities. We get little of these. It's as if the film wanted to present a case for the legitimacy of sex addiction, front-loaded with stats and horror stories and characters to open our eyes, and the notion of telling a laudable story was secondary to the educational efforts. Congrats. Now give me a story to care about. Nate's Grade: C+
- mrbungle7821, Friday, September 20, 2013
Sex addiction is often misunderstood or simply stated, unrelatable. However, in the directorial debut of writer Stuart Blumberg ("The Kids Are All Right"), "Thanks For Sharing", Mark Ruffalo takes front and center as our protagonist Adam, a sex addict that has been clean for five years. Similar to Alcoholic Anonymous meetings, sex addicts share in groups and thrive in the buddy system to help one another kick their temptations. These people's jobs, health, social status, and self esteem are on the line, and the idea of sex addiction becomes real as you feel for each and everyone of these characters, Ruffalo offers a perfect performance in the film, as he struggles to stay "sober" while facing a new, and very sexual relationship with Gwyneth Paltrow, who has never looked better. Following the normal romantic comedy story arc, complete with lying, finding out, and reconciliation, the film reaches some dark moments and benefits from every single one. Tim Robbins and Josh Gad offer up the film's intersecting story-lines, both recovering sex addicts dealing with different parts of the addiction spectrum. Robbins' character is a huge support system for addicts, mentoring many different people, but skipping some duties as husband and former-deadbeat dad. Patrick Fugit, as Robbins' son, offers up one of the most powerful performances and even though his arc delves into the melodramatic, his outbursts and reactions are the highlights of his scenes. Josh Gad then plays the immature sex addict, not ready to take responsibility for his actions, but facing the loss of dream job as a doctor, he is forced to face himself as well as a fellow addict, played by Alicia Moore (Pink). Although this often feels like the lower tier storyline, there's plenty of emotions to be felt, as well as some much needed comic relief. The relationships in the film feel real and come from a very natural place. Very similar to the writing of "The Kids Are All Right", the dialogue reads very natural and cohesive, never wasting a breath and developing the characters through and through. "Thanks For Sharing" tackles the world of sex addiction from a straightforward standpoint and spells out the distinction of what this "disease" really is. Marked with several outstanding performances and an emotional connection to the characters and the material, the film accomplishes so many things without adhering to either the dark world of addiction like in "Shame" or to the hokey romantic comedy side of film, but straddles a line in between that is entertaining from beginning to end.
- xas5, Thursday, September 26, 2013