Thanks for Sharing is a directorial debut for Stuart Blumberg, better known for his Best Original Screenplay Academy Award nomination for The Kids are All Right.
Thanks for Sharing, as you may guess from the title, is about addiction support groups. It centres on Mark Ruffalo’s character Adam who is a five-years-sober sex addict. The film treats the subject matter far more light-heartedly than Steve McQueen’s Shame making the drama of addiction broadly accessible but also rather hollow.
Although the dialogue does have some good one-liners (Tim Robbins’ character Mike says sex addiction is “like trying to quit crack while the pipe’s attached to your body”) and the extreme nature of the characters’ afflictions inevitably draws audience sympathy, overall, the film felt unfinished – as though they filmed one of the dress rehearsals and decided it would do. Gwyneth Paltrow basically plays herself as Adam’s love interest and, in general, the acting has an improvised feel. This gives the film a very honest, easy-going quality but does result in the whole thing being smaller than the sum of its parts.
The minor characters also have more resolution to their story arcs than lead character Adam. His crisis takes place much too late in the film and as a result it is not satisfactorily resolved. Other character details are equally puzzling, such as Alecia Moore’s character Dede’s admission that she took a neighbour’s virginity “by force”, which is just left dangling, like a mere triviality in comparison to her other admissions, rather than the monumental confession it would have been had her character been male.
Although Thanks for Sharing is funny and easy to watch, its disappointing predictability makes it forgettable. Ruffalo’s cavalier charm is very nice to watch, but a little bit too casual. Josh Gad as likeable buffoon Neil is the film’s most redeeming aspect.
Reviewed by Rachael McKinnon