Brian Henry Martin at the movies

Help, We're Sex Addicts!

Published Thursday, 03 October 2013
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Modern man is in crisis. A radical new disease has brought the male species to the verge of a nervous breakdown. And that affliction is sex addiction.

Meet Adam, Mike and Neil, New York sex addicts on the mend and on the bend in debutant director Stuart Blumberg's comedy-drama Thanks For Sharing.

On the surface, Adam (Mark Ruffalo), a handsome environmentalist, Mike (Tim Robbins), a happily-married business man, and Neil (Josh Gad), a wisecracking ER doctor, have little in common. But together, they are the disparate members of a Manhattan recovery programme, swapping stories of carnal sobriety and sexual intoxication. And all at different stages of dealing with addiction.

Confident and successful in his career, Adam is afraid to allow love back into his life but then he meets the delightful Phoebe (Gwyneth Paltrow), a fitness freak and cancer survivor, who's also looking for a fresh start. "You're not an alcoholic are you?" Phoebe asks him "My last boyfriend was an alcoholic and I promised myself I would never date an addict again."

Little does she know that she has fallen for another junkie. "It's like trying to quit crack" explains Mike about sex addiction, "while the pipe is still attached to your body." But after fifteen years of being what he calls 'sober', he's suddenly struggling to keep his family together, especially when his wayward son Danny (Patrick Fugit) wanders back into his life.

Then there's shocking doctor Neil, who spends his travel time rubbing up against women on the subway. He is still deeply in denial when he's befriended by fellow sufferer Dede (Pink), who has just begun to take her own small steps back to health. "The only way I can relate to men" she says "is by sex."

Unfortunately, this is a very muddled movie, moving uncomfortably between comedy and drama. From a silly cycling skit in one scene to a stark suicide attempt in the next. Very few films are cleverly crafted enough to pull off this type of turn, which is why the Oscar winning Silver Linings Playbook was such a revelation.

There are of course some funny lines and mildly moving moments but you can't help feel that you are channel hopping between three different movies.

The cast are a curious concoction too and one that had me considering a series of baffling questions: Is Mark Ruffalo too good looking to be a sex addict? Is Tim Robbins too tall to be in films? Is Josh Gad the sweatiest man ever to appear in cinema? Can Gwyneth Paltrow play anybody else other Gwyneth Paltrow? And why does Pink, who blossoms as an actress not have more than a few minor scenes?

Thanks For Sharing did not leave me wanting more but less. And demanding a cinematic court order that comedy and drama live apart for a while, or at least until they can share the screen in harmony.

Thanks For Sharing (Cert 15) is now on general release.

© UTV News
B. H. Martin
B. H. Martin

Brian Henry Martin is an accomplished documentary filmmaker and UTV's resident film critic, appearing regularly on UTV Live Tonight.

No matter what the film, there's a good chance Brian has seen it.


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