Sex addiction no laughing matter

Sex addiction no laughing matter

The story: Former sex addict Adam (Mark Ruffalo) has been sober for five years and is now helping others with the 12-step process of recovery. He is even ready to start dating when Phoebe (Gwyneth Paltrow) comes along. His sponsor Mike (Tim Robbins) is supportive of Adam but wary of his own addict son, Danny (Patrick Fugit). Meanwhile, the incorrigible Neil (Josh Gad) unexpectedly finds friendship with the free-spirited Dede (Alecia Moore, better known as pop star Pink).

Perhaps the fact that writer-director Stuart Blumberg had co-written Oscar-nominated gay family drama The Kids Are All Right (2010) attracted this ensemble cast of big names to the film.

But lightning fails to strike twice for Blumberg.

Maybe the problem lies with the fact that addiction is not an inherently hilarious topic. And the light comic tone that Blumberg is going for in his debut directorial feature does not work.

Darren Aronofsky's disturbing and harrowing Requiem For A Dream (2000) is a far more honest and compelling look at the subject instead.

Here, the stories never quite resonate.

The Neil-Dede plotline is too pat and feels mainly like an acting exercise for pop star Pink. She does an okay job but you never forget that she is Pink. And the chubby Neil borders on being a caricature whose main purpose is to milk some cheap laughs.

In the case of the Adam-Phoebe story, there is also some serious miscasting going on. Mark Ruffalo (You Can Count On Me, 2000) can play wounded and vulnerable in his sleep, but he has zero chemistry with Gwyneth Paltrow's health fanatic. Watching them play at being a flirty couple trading cutesy banter will have you cringing so much that it feels like a workout.

The Mike-Danny father-son strand is potentially the most interesting as it touches upon issues of trust and forgiveness. But it feels slight, given all the characters and material the film is juggling.

What I did learn from the film is that the terminology used in sex addiction is the same as that used in alcohol addiction. Hence, characters talk about being sober and also commemorate their length of sobriety. The idea is that sex addiction is as serious as any other kind of addiction and not just a flimsy excuse that Hollywood stars trot out for their bad behaviour.

In the end, Thanks For Sharing plays like a well-meaning public service announcement. But good intentions alone do not make a good movie, so thanks, but no thanks.


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