Too inappropriately funny and too limp when it’s being serious. Thanks for Sharing thinks it has the courage for taking on sexual addiction as a subject and Sex Addicts Anonymous 12-step groups as a setting, but it has little courage and is often tone-deaf. For a moment each, we feel grief for addicts played by Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins and Josh Gad. Then some carefree humor is wedged in, to make the uncomfortable material supposedly feel comfortable to the audience. This is not “Shame” (2011), it does not come close nor even try. This actually feels only superficially researched by Stuart Blumberg, the director and co-writer (with Matt Winston).
Ruffalo plays a vague political consultant named Adam who has been sober for five years, and dateless, until he meets non-addict Gwyneth Paltrow. It’s interesting that Adam feels too much shame about letting himself reach sexual highs and satisfaction with his frisky girlfriend, yet Ruffalo never really does get under the skin of his character. Having the character get to a breaking sobriety point does not mean an actor automatically gets under the skin of his character.
Robbins is a construction contractor who has been married to his high school sweetheart for decades, yet gave her Hepatitis when he had been unfaithful, but has been sober for several years. Anger at his untrustworthy son and failed communication with his wife, sends him into whirlwinds of tantrums and potential encounters with strangers. But his character is a mild threat, not a compelling threat. Jack Nicholson and Greg Kinnear have played more compelling sexual wrecking balls, as examples see “Carnal Knowledge” and “Auto Focus,” respectively.
Gad is an ER doctor who risks his job security by rubbing up against females, and recording them in pornographic fashion. When at home, he occupies himself with viewing porn to such unhealthy and relentless degrees that it suffocates any chance of a social life. This would be a fascinating dark character study if his klutziness wasn’t emphasized to provide shallow laughs. He’s fat and falls off his bike. What’s this slapstick doing here, huh?
I’ve made “Thanks for Sharing” sound worse than it actually is. It has a watchable TV-episode feel with the depth of a broad information video. But it often sidesteps serious themes about sexual dependency, porn addiction, inappropriate acting out behaviors in public. I’m not exactly sure that Blumberg understands that sex addiction stems from low self-esteem and self-loathing, or that it is sometimes tied to love addiction – the undiscriminating need to sleep with anybody and everybody in order to feel accepted and valued.
Really, what a shame that it doesn’t come close to competing with “Shame.” And for the addict who still suffers, this ain’t your movie.
112 Minutes. Rated R.
DRAMA / ADULT ORIENTATION / LAZY AFTERNOON COUCH MOVIE