Thanks for Sharing

Directed By: Stuart Blumberg

Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins, Gwyneth Paltrow, Josh Gad, Joely Richardson, Alecia Moore, and Patrick Fugit

Addiction is a rarely funny subject that's often dramatized on the big screen.  More often than not, you're going to see films like Flight, Smashed, and Shame hitting theaters when it comes to depicting folks looking to get their latest fix.  This weekend, things are a little different.  Director Stuart Blumberg and his cast are adding an entry to the long list of addiction flicks with comedy Thanks for Sharing.  While Blumberg includes all the requisite melodrama for a film of this nature, Thanks for Sharing tries to turn sex addiction into comedic gold.  It tries but doesn't necessarily succeed.

Now five years sober, Adam (Mark Ruffalo) is winning the war over his sex addiction with the help of his longtime sponsor Mike (Tim Robbins).  The problem with being sober and not having sex for the last five years is that Adam has been out of the dating game.  Mike doesn't want his sponsee to become a celibate monk, so he encourages Adam to put himself out there and find a girl.  That girl just happens to be breast cancer survivor and health nut Phoebe (Gwyneth Paltrow), a woman who has no interest in dating another addict.  Adam keeps his lips sealed about his sobriety as long as he can because that will certainly cause some problems in their newly budding relationship.  Meanwhile, Mike and his wife Katie (Joely Richardson) struggle with the return of their wayward son Danny (Patrick Fugit) who's had his fair share of bouts with addiction as well.

Adam himself also sponsors fellow sex addicts.  Currently, he's working with Neil (Josh Gad), a young doctor who is out of control.  Harassing girls on the subway, filming up his boss's skirt, and masturbating incessantly, this sex addict has been lying to Adam about his sobriety and avoiding all twelve steps of the program like it's his job.  Luckily for him, a new girl named Dede (Alecia Moore) has arrived.  Dede is a 30 year-old hair stylist who only knows how to relate to men through sex.  Now that her pathological sex drive has destroyed every relationship and friendship she's ever had, she's in need of a friend who can give and receive some moral support, a role for which Neil is well-suited.

Thanks for Sharing is certainly a film with its funny moments, but it plays exactly as expected.  The formulaic plot and predictable melodrama are both apparent.  The clichés are never-ending and culminate in an undeniably sappy manner.  Most importantly, Stuart Blumberg exploits addiction to try to turn it into something humorous.  Granted, we're dealing with sex addiction here.  Though we're not exactly talking about booze or heroine, it is a movie playing off addiction.  If you're going to make light of addiction, it better have more than a so-so comedic payoff.

We get a mixed bag of performances in this sex addiction comedy.  Tim Robbins consistently brings some humor to the table as elder sponsor Mike.  He can be so chill and relaxed at times and so angry and dismissive at others.  It's quite entertaining to watch.  He's the only good part of the movie though.  As the film's central couple Adam and Phoebe, Mark Ruffalo and Gwyneth Paltrow have decent chemistry that unfortunately doesn't translate to comedy.  Hulk is apparently no replacement for Iron Man when it comes to Pepper Potts.  Alecia Moore (also known as Pink) gives a surprisingly stale performance as Dede.  For a sex addict, she's not terribly sensual on screen.  Lastly, her partner in crime Josh Gad tries too hard to be funny.  He should just let his natural humor shine.

Thanks for Sharing has its fair share of ups and downs.  At the end of the day, it's still a halfway decent movie.  With a twelve step program though, it could have overcome its addiction to predictability and clichés.  Thanks for Sharing gets a 0.06% rating.  Have a couple of glasses of Pinot Grigio with this one.