mon 23/09/2019

Thanks For Sharing | reviews, news & interviews

Thanks For Sharing

Thanks For Sharing

Mark Ruffalo excels as a sex addict in a film that doesn't

Is snogging addictive? Ask Mark Ruffalo and Gwyneth Paltrow

The new puritanism of the American cinema continues apace with Thanks For Sharing, which follows on from the more elegantly made but comparably dispiriting Shame in positing Manhattan as the most sexually dysfunctional place on earth. What did New York do (besides elect Michael Bloomberg as mayor three times over) to deserve all this carnal angst and obsessiveness and shame? Lord knows, but even the wonderful Mark Ruffalo can't lift the spirits of a film that wallows in its therapy-speak environs. One doubts audiences will be sharing this one once word of mouth kicks in.

Ruffalo plays Adam, a career high-flyer who can barely move in the Big Apple without brazen images of sexuality assaulting him at every turn. For some while, Adam's response had been to take every offer of human sex going (though only hetero mind; unlike Shame, this is a same sex-free zone). These conquests have been arrived at via a series of random pick-ups and prostitutes that has led Adam to the 12-step programme in which he is marking five years of celibacy as the film begins.

Richardson, Fugit, and Robbins in Thanks For SharingAdam's story is folded in among that of two other men who are going sexual cold turkey alongside him. Mike (Tim Robbins), Adam's sponsor, is a reformed drinker with anger management issues, a quiescent wife (Joely Richardson, in a lovely turn), and a son (Patrick Fugit, pictured right en famille) whose own dependency on drugs builds to a grievous climax that is just one of many plot points that is badly followed through on in Stuart Blumberg and Matt Winston's script. (Blumberg also directed the film, with a lead fist.) 

At the same time, Adam is himself sponsor to Neil (Josh Gad, pictured below in the barber chair), a shlub who can no longer take the subway since he can't be trusted not to push himself up against any and all available female flesh: the one good running joke in a punishingly self-serious film arises from Neil's transport problems at ground level, a scenario with which anyone who knows New York traffic will empathise at once. (Let's just say that London even at its most congested is a comparative breeze.) And those who saw Gad's obnoxious if career-grabbing Broadway turn in The Book of Mormon will be pleased to see that the tousled-haired actor is capable of more temperate acting, as well. 

Josh Gad in Thanks For SharingBoth Neil and Adam rub up - sorry! - against romance, though of the two, only Neil's arc rings in any way true. He embarks upon what at first looks to be an entirely platonic relationship with a heavily tattooed fellow addict, DeDe, who is played with easy authority by Alecia Moore, better-known as the singing star Pink. Adam, in turn, falls for Gwyneth Paltrow's Phoebe, a putative siren in recovery from cancer whose one dating requirement is that addicts steer well clear. Their fluctuating affections include a lap dance for a lingerie-wearing Paltrow that is enough to dampen anyone's libido for decades to come.  

The movie heads to some decidedly dark places and then takes various improbable u-turns, leaving one wondering, for instance, what will become of Becky (Emily Meade, excellent), a damaged pick-up of Adam's who entices him back into the sexual fray. Blumberg wants to be hard-hitting as well as healing, bluntly spoken while allowing the characters the full Hollywood-style reprieve. I believe fully in therapy and the resultant pain but didn't buy this one for a nanosecond. Ruffalo soon appears as an AIDS patient in the screen version of Larry Kramer's era-defining The Normal Heart, which promises a degree of honesty unavailable here. The sharing on this actor's part continues alongside the promise of something genuinely scorching, as well. 

Watch the trailer for Thanks For Sharing overleaf

The lap dance for a lingerie-wearing Gwyneth Paltrow is enough to dampen anyone's libido for decades to come.


Editor Rating: 
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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