‘Thanks for Sharing’ Review

Published 1 year ago by , Updated August 23rd, 2014 at 12:52 am,

thanks for sharing trailer Thanks for Sharing Review

Thanks for Sharing revolves around three New Yorkers undergoing a “12-step process”-style program to keep their sex addiction under control: Adam (Mark Ruffalo), a handsome and successful middle-aged environmental consultant who is five years clean; Mike (Tim Robbins), an older architectural designer who’s been married to his high school sweetheart for over three decades (and has kept sober for the past 15 years); and Neil (Josh Gad), a young and socially-aloof E.R. doctor who’s under court-order to complete the recovery program.

Adam is confronted with a new set of emotional hurdles to jump over, after he decides to pursue a relationship with a (seemingly…) well-adjusted woman named Phoebe (Gwyneth Paltrow). Meanwhile, Mike’s serene day-to-day lifestyle ends up being interrupted when his estranged son (Patrick Fugit) returns home, claiming to have beaten his own substance addiction issues and wanting to mend fences with his parents. Lastly, a development at work forces Neil to confront the reality of his problems, but he finds a helpful ally in fellow recovering sex addict Dede (Alecia Moore, a.k.a. the singer/songwriter Pink).

Thanks for Sharing premiered back at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, yet the movie is only now making its way into theaters, close to a year later. That delay may have resulted from distributor Lionsgate recognizing that the addiction dramedy – the directorial debut for Oscar-nominated screenwriter Stuart Blumberg (The Kids Are All Right) – isn’t all that cohesive or revolutionary (when it comes to providing new insight on its subject matter) – and thus, probably won’t generate serious awards season buzz. Nevertheless, the film is an overall solid work of adult storytelling that ultimately confronts the realities of addiction (not to mention, addictive lifestyle choices) with emotional clarity and moral responsibility.

Mark Ruffalo and Tim Robbins in Thanks for Sharing Thanks for Sharing Review

There are times during the first half of the film when Thanks for Sharing threatens to turn into “First World Problems: The Movie,” in large part because Blumberg and his co-writer (longtime character actor Matt Winston) over-play Gad’s struggles for easy comic effect. More importantly, they rely too heavily on the kind of standard (read: cheap) rom-com conventions that are too often found in movies about… well… white yuppies who live in a big American city (if we’re being brutally honest). Fortunately, sympathetic performances from the ensemble cast help to carry the film through these weak spots and enable the second half of the story (when things get heavy) to have a genuine emotional impact.

Mike’s storyline is the weakest of the three narrative threads, partly because it (multiple times) begins to wander in a more intriguing direction; but, instead, that storyline ultimately suffers from larger plot contrivances that make the eventual payoff to the father-son drama feel too emotionally manipulative. By comparison, the Adam/Phoebe thread starts out clunky (since Paltrow and Ruffalo don’t have strong chemistry), but this problem eventually plays to the story’s advantage, in that it leads to interesting questions about why certain types of habitual (read: “addictive”) behavior are more socially acceptable than others. In addition, the script doesn’t let the characters off the hook for their self-centered muck-ups in the pursuit of a relationship.

thanks for sharing josh gad pink Thanks for Sharing Review

Neil’s arc in the most clearly defined among the film’s three protagonists (he’s also the most empathetic of the male leads), but Gad deserves credit for turning in a performance that shifts easily from likable, uncomfortably funny and even heart-wrenching when the narrative calls for it. Similarly, Moore doesn’t at all embarrass herself in the role of Dede and her work here suggests that she might be the rare pop singer who could actually have a good screen career (if she wants one). Lastly, while their appearances are brief, supporting players like Isiah Whitlock Jr. (The Wire), Carol Kane (The Princess Bride) and Emily Meade (Trespass) each provide some needed emotional thunder during their cameos.

Thanks for Sharing, in case it wasn’t clear already, is very much a movie where the pure technical aspects of the filmmaking are a secondary concern to the writing and acting (which makes sense, given Blumberg and Winston’s past experience). Still, there are scenes that allow cinematographer Yaron Orbach (Our Idiot Brother) and editor Anne McCabe (Adventureland) to infuse the proceedings with more of a cinematic flare (see: when Neil and Adam must resist temptation at every turn in crowded Manhattan). One last thing: the film might’ve been better had Blumberg collaborated again with a woman storyteller (like he did with writer/director Lisa Cholodenko for The Kids Are All Right), seeing how story beats involving the female characters often feel like they’re being told from a strictly male perspective.

Nitpicks aside, the good elements outweigh the bad in Thanks for Sharing and the final result is a commendable examination of addiction, sex and the nature of grown-up relationships (among other issues that are rarely black and white). It’s not necessarily a film that demands to be seen in theaters, but you shouldn’t regret paying the ticket price if you decide to check it out (before it hits the home video market, that is).

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Thanks for Sharing is now playing in limited theatrical release. It is 112 minutes long and is Rated R for language and some strong sexual content.

Our Rating:

3 out of 5

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  1. Not sure I can get passed the sex-addiction theme on this one.
    Great review, Sandy, and because of it I will give this a view
    when it is available in non-theater forms down the road.

    Maybe I am a little to cynical to believe sex-addiction is
    settled science even if it is which the film seems to advocate
    although I think there can be behavior that fits that profile which
    is a symptom of something else, a different problem that is the problem.

    • too cynical

  2. Does this mean Banner and Pepper get it on?

    • Pepper better hope her Extremis infection can help her withstand it if Banner Hulks-out mid-coitus. Unless his junk stays banner-sized. Hey, maybe THAT’S why Hulk’s so pissed…

    • Also, they also both stared in “A View From the Top” as well.

  3. You lost me right here

    revolves around three New Yorkers undergoing a “12-step process”-style program to keep their sex addiction under control: Adam (Mark Ruffalo), a handsome and successful middle-aged environmental consultant who is five years clean; Mike (Tim Robbins), an older architectural designer who’s been married to his high school sweetheart for over three decades (and has kept

    This movie sounds needlessly confusing. I literally didn’t make it to the first period and I am bored to tears. How can a movie about sex addiction be boring????

    • I found shame kinda boring

      • Me too but Michael Fassbender’ is awesome

  4. How can a movie starring people magazines most beautiful woman alive not be any less than 5 out of 5.

    • Well…..because Pink is also in it. So she knocks the “beauty” factor down a notch or three….

      • Woah, thats a bit harsh.

    • Josh Gad… He is one of the ugliest men alive, so he evens things back out.

  5. gasp

  6. How come Screen Rant reviewed this movie but totally ignored Blue Jasmine?

    Blue Jasmine is amazing.

    • Unfortunately, things were busy for our staff in general around the time that Blue Jasmine premiered in theaters, so we weren’t able to cover that one.

      We’ve been working on expanding our TV and movie coverage of late (you’ve might already started to notice that), so hopefully films like Blue Jasmine will, more often than not, get the proper attention they deserve in the future.

  7. Does anybody remember the movie they starred in together way back when called A View From The Top they were a couple in that.