Surprisingly, “Thanks for Sharing” acknowledges that we as human beings crave sex, and sometimes crave it too much.
The movie takes place in a world of sex addicts. They all attend meetings, much like those of Alcoholics Anonymous, and they all know each other.
Adam (Mark Ruffalo) takes his sobriety very seriously. He does not own a computer or a TV and uses a flip-phone with no Internet connection.
He has not dated anyone in five years. When he meets the beautiful Phoebe (Gwyneth Paltrow), friends tell him it’s time. The only problem is, she’s had it with alcoholics and refuses to date another addict. How can Adam tell her?
Adam’s mentor is Mike (Tim Robbins), who has seemingly been in treatment most of his adult life.
Then there’s Neil (Josh Gad), who spends his time brushing up against girls on the subway and filming upskirt movies.
He is reluctant to begin recovery, until he becomes friendly with a new group member Dede (Alecia Moore, otherwise known as pop star Pink).
“Thanks for Sharing” is the directorial debut of screenwriter Stuart Blumberg, who received an Oscar nomination for “The Kids Are All Right.”
Blumberg researched his material extensively. Perhaps because he reveres it, or perhaps because of its tricky taboo nature, he tends to soft-pedal. The movie has something of a sitcom sheen. Tough situations are presented through a cushion of safety.
The good news is that this cast — including Pink aka Alecia Moore, in her first serious movie part — bring pulsating, organic life to their every moment. It’s not clear whether Blumberg encouraged improvisation, but it often feels like these actors are actually living these wonderfully sloppy, awkward, tender moments, rather than reciting lines.
The achievement is all the more profound considering that not all of the actors in the ensemble cast have the benefit of tons of screen time.
Though Joseph Gordon Levitt’s upcoming “Don Jon” is an overall stronger movie about the subject of sex addiction, the sympathetic characters in “Thanks for Sharing,” along with Blumberg’s authentic details of this world, make it a big group hug of a movie.
Thanks for Sharing
Starring Mark Ruffalo, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim Robbins, Josh Gad, Alecia Moore
Written and directed by Stuart Blumberg
Running time 1 hour, 52 minutes