Rated: R for language and some strong sexual content. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: September 20, 2013 Released by: Roadside Attractions
Thanks For Sharing tries to corner sex addiction into a funny and touching Big Apple-set tale, but is victimized in an ordinary, platitudinous rendering that leaves it more tedious than piquant.
Not to say that first-time director Stuart Blumberg (who wrote The Kids Are All Right) doesn't have some interesting ideas in place and a decent cast for a relevant romantic comedy which starts out agreeable enough. It's clear that he's done research into the condition when it comes to behaviors as monitored by medical and treatment establishments, but the acclaimed co-scenarist diffuses the wit and characters through his machinations around 12-step support group the effectiveness of which is hardly marginalized.
The generational aspect of the going through the stages is manifested from Neil (Josh Gad) to Mike (Tim Robbins) who is also a sponsor to Adam (Mark Ruffalo, much better as the interloper in the aforementioned Blumberg-penned picture). A wisecracking ER doctor, Neil, has lost his way from voyeurism and fondling and is hard to say what really drives his darker impulses which has led to a court-ordered program. Mike has a caring spouse (Joely Richardson) and is trying to mend things with his grown sluggard son (Patrick Fugit).
The chief character in a capable cast that never fully connects is Adam who tentatively bonds with Phoebe (Gwyneth Paltrow) while trying to keep her out of his loop for a while before questioning the concept and its validity. Paltrow's acting skills here are closer to Country Strong than her Oscar-level capabilities as she proves to be more titillating (for those who've seen the trailer) since Adam can't have a laptop or television in his hotel room. The subplot with Neil allows for companionship as another group member Dede (Alecia Moore, commonly known as pop star Pink). Those who admit to the compulsion in the film are predominantly men (the distaff side apparently identify themselves as love addicts) as the mood in Thanks For Sharing turns out to be enervating once Murphy's Law really takes effect never really doing an interesting take on something more mainstream as the similarly-themed No Strings Attached and Friends With Benefits. Moore, surprisingly enough, relates Dede in less of a mannered way than her far more experienced costars, though Robbins demonstrates the difficulties of Mike having much on his plate and Gad exuding a pathos of desperation with Neil still under the grasp of his mother (Carol Kane).
In essence, this occasionally watchable if atonal, uncoordinated debut unintentionally skirts a more vivid example of the topic through apprehensive flippancy which wasn't the case for the more pretentious, penetrating and dramatic Shame.
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