I honestly had a tough time starting this review, because I left the theater not knowing how I felt. Prior to my viewing experience, I was excited to see Thanks for Sharing. It looked funny and interesting, with sex addiction not being a common theme you see in film and television. Plus, how often do you get to see Pink act?
But the trailer now feels a little misleading, though not on purpose. Stuart Blumberg set out to make a comedy, feeling that the dark subject matter of sex addiction needed a comedic flair to be palatable. But unfortunately he didn’t succeed. The subject matter is very dark and depressing, and we do see a lot of that. The comedic elements of the film, while present, feel forced and out of place. In adding that comedy, we only skim the surface of the characters, making the film seem unnecessary.
At first I thought I couldn’t relate to the film because it centers around three men in different stages of sex addiction recovery. Adam (Mark Ruffalo) has just hit his five year mark, his sponsor Mike (Tim Robbins) has probably been in recovery for half of his life, and his brand new sponsee Neil (Josh Gad) who during the film we see actively decide it’s time to take recovery seriously. I’ve never been an addict, and I’ve never known someone who has been through an addiction recovery program, but I don’t actually think that was the problem. There were a few other themes in the film that I did connect with.
The problem I really have with Thanks for Sharing is that, for a film about sex addiction, it didn’t show us anything new about being an addict. This literally could have been a film about any other kind of addiction, with a plot we’ve seen many times, and because of the focus on trying to keep it light with comedy, the addiction we saw was a lot less gritty and shocking than many other films already out there. The worst it got was a scene where Adam lost control and had a girl over. She started acting like a child and calling him daddy as a form of role playing. Compared to a lot of other things I could easily list off the top of my head, it just didn’t feel that depraved to me.
There are some good performances here, particularly Ruffalo, Robbins, and Patrick Fugit who played Robbins’ son. Mark Ruffalo and Gwyneth Paltrow have kind of an odd chemistry, that I chalk up more to the writers not being about to capture realistic banter than a casting problem. Josh Gad was a little more serious than usual, but still the same basic character he always plays. And Pink, they really just didn’t give her anything to do.
When it comes down to it, the inconsistency in tone mixed with a plot we’ve seen before, simply makes this film forgettable.