By Bill Wine
KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Trying to kick sex addiction, says a character in Thanks for Sharing, is like “trying to quit crack while the pipe is attached to your body.”
Nicely put, as is this thoughtful dramedy about compulsive sexaholics that looks in on three characters in New York City who are dealing with acknowledged sex addiction by attending 12-step meetings, where participants talk openly and honestly about their particular forms of sexual obsession and dysfunction, and about how difficult recovery is in our highly sexualized society.
Mark Ruffalo is Adam, an environmental consultant who is attending a 12-step program for his sex addiction and has five years of sexual sobriety behind him when he meets Phoebe, a fetching fitness enthusiast played by Gwyneth Paltrow who seems to be soul-mate material.
Tim Robbins, a senior member of the group with fifteen years in, is Adam’s sponsor. He has battled his own sex addiction in the past and is at a different stage of sobriety than Adam, whom he now mentors. He just wishes he could communicate with his estranged, drug-addicted son (Patrick Fugit) as effectively as does his wife (Joely Richardson), the childhood sweetheart to whom he’s happily married.
Josh Gad (who played Steve Wozniak opposite Ashton Kutcher’s Steve Jobs in Jobs), playing an emergency room doctor with compulsions and apron-strings issues with his mom (Carol Kane), is a member of the program whom Adam takes on as a designated sponsor. He’s instructed to join the group by court order because of his unseemly behavior around women during his subway commute, and is befriended by hairstylist DeDe, played by Pink, a new female member of the otherwise-male support group who seems incapable of having a nonsexual relationship with a man.
Stuart Blumberg –- a debuting director who wrote the screenplays for The Kids Are All Right, The Girl Next Door, and Keeping the Faith — co-wrote the script for this seriocomedy with Matt Winston. It gracefully interweaves the characters’ stories and, although there are thematic similarities to 2011’s Shame, the approach to the material is altogether different: a lot more humorous, to say the least, and a lot less severe.
It’s not quite “Shame with a sense of humor,” but sometimes it’s close.
The ensemble acting is stalwart, and the almost lighthearted approach to the material allows the leads to play some interesting dramatic and comedic notes as the characters seek deeper connections with each other on the uphill road to recovery.
Pink (a.k.a. Alecia Moore) is electrifying in a small but crucial role that suggests that the singer might be capable of an acting career that really takes off.
So we’ll confess 2½ stars out of 4. The candid comedy-drama Thanks for Sharing takes on the tricky subject of sex addiction and wrestles it to an entertaining draw.