Thursday, September 19, 2013

A comedy about sex addiction?

After director Steve McQueen's riveting Shame (2011), it's difficult to imagine why anyone would want to make another movie about sex addiction. Think of Thanks for Sharing -- a comedy into which grenade-sized helpings of drama occasionally are tossed -- as a lukewarm attempt to deal with a searingly hot subject. Despite the presence of a strong cast -- led by Mark Ruffalo and Tim Robbins -- director Stuart Blumberg's foray into controversial material plays like a manual about 12-step programs, complete with sex addicted men who refer to their recovery as "sobriety." The always watchable Ruffalo plays Adam, an environmentalist who's five years away from his worst addiction, which consisted of countless one-nighters, constant masturbation, Internet porn and sex with prostitutes. Robbins plays Mike, a contractor who seems to have won the battle against both alcohol and sex addiction and now serves as Adam's mentor. Josh Gad joins the ranks of the sex addicted as a doctor whose compulsive ways threaten his career. Two story revolves around two main events: Adam's budding relationship with a woman he genuinely likes (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Mike's relationship with his son (Patrick Fugit), an addict who insists he's finally cleaned up. The difficulties of those suffering from sex addiction can feel more illustrated than dramatized, and the movie attempts too much: It wants to be a genial romcom, a cautionary tale about addiction and a comedy about extreme male attitudes about sex. It's hardly a compliment to say that too much of Blumberg's look at a serious and debilitating problem proceeds pleasantly.

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