Sunday, September 08, 2013

“Thanks For Sharing” – Movie Review



The bonus screenings for the fall semester of my movie class began this weekend with the comedy-drama, “Thanks For Sharing”, starring Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins and Gwyneth Paltrow.


When several men form a friendship while in group therapy for their sex addiction, will they be able to support each other in moments of crises or will they just lapse into their self-destructive nature?


Adam (Ruffalo) is celebrating five years of “sobriety” – at least that’s what it’s called when recovering sex addicts are able to successfully avoid the kind of behavior that drove them into group therapy in the first place.  As anyone in a similar position can tell you, an accomplishment such as this cannot be done alone; he’s been fortunate to have Mike (Robbins) as both a friend and a sponsor.  Mike, a long-time husband with a decade of sobriety himself, has served as a stable influence for Adam, who is single; together, they have had each other’s back in their darkest moments.

New to their group is Neil (Josh Gad), a young man similarly addicted – in fact, his addiction has gotten so bad that it recently caused him to lose his job.  As a result, Adam is assigned as his sponsor, whose role is to educate, nurture and support his weighty charge.  However, when Adam correctly senses that Neil lacks both the dedication and discipline to make the commitment to this task, he bails out as Neil’s sponsor.  Soon, Dede (Alecia Moore – AKA Pink) joins the group as its only female member.  After hearing each other’s tale of woe, Neil and Dede exchange phone numbers and decide to become each other’s sponsor. 

Attending a party, Adam meets another guest, Phoebe (Paltrow), a bright, beautiful woman who is clearly attracted to him.  With great trepidation, Adam starts dating Phoebe and it looks like things may get serious between them.  But when she learns of his addiction, can their relationship survive?  Meanwhile, Mike and his wife Katie (Joely Richardson) are mysteriously visited by their drug addict prodigal son Danny (Patrick Fugit), of whom Mike is understandably suspicious.  When Mike and Danny entangle in an explosive fight over Danny’s potential substance abuse, will the father and son ever be able to repair their family?    


While far from the ultimate film viewing experience, “Thanks For Sharing” is an enjoyable little movie that started out a bit shaky but eventually won me over, in spite of its flaws.  Early on, its script contains hackneyed jokes and questionable choices of character attributes, but eventually, manages to overcome those deficiencies with more clever writing than it began with, combined with some extremely palpable chemistry between the members of its cast  -- ultimately, we can believe the friendships that develop between certain characters might just really exist. 

Although I can’t honestly admit to being a big Gwyneth Paltrow fan, her performance in “Thanks For Sharing” is especially spicy – in particular, a scene where she gives Mark Ruffalo a lap dance in some rather tempting lingerie.  So much for her being perceived as the squeaky-clean Ice Princess, I guess!  Ruffalo holds the film together with his typically strong acting and Josh Gad – perhaps best known for his role in the Broadway musical “The Book Of Mormon” – dutifully fulfills his role as the movie’s comic relief in a number of scenes with Pink and Carol Kane as his mother. 

Following the screening, our instructor interviewed the film’s director, Stuart Blumberg, who also co-wrote the screenplay.  Blumberg, who made his feature-film directing debut with “Thanks For Sharing”, also co-wrote the movie “The Kids Are Alright”; he gave an interesting interview, which included his writing process for this script.  Co-writer Matt Winston is an old friend of Blumberg’s; they collaborated on another script prior to writing this one.  For “Thanks For Sharing”, they collaborated over Skype, despite the fact both writers were living in Los Angeles at the time. 


Thanks for Sharing (2012) on IMDb 6.1/10416 votes


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