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Walking into an R rated movie about sex addicts can be a bit daunting. It feels like you should be wearing dark glasses and a turned up collar. But despite the subject matter Thanks for Sharing isn't really that kind of movie.
The linchpin story is of rather nice guy Adam (Mark Ruffalo) who we meet at the end of a drought. He has been in a 12 step program for his sex addiction for over 5 years.
After five years of celibacy its time for him to come out, now that he can control his obsession, and find himself a nice girlfriend.
Enter Phoebe ( Gwyneth Patrow) she's beautiful, and sassy and knows what she wants especially a full blown sexual relationship with this gorgeous guy.
But somehow he has to tell her about his problem and he's not sure how that is going to impact on Little Miss Perfect. Plus because she is so fully on sexually it unsettles the balance he has perfected in his life.
But the film is also multi-tiered just as in the 12 step program where you have a sponsor, someone you can ring in times of great temptation and then also someone whom you also mentor down the chain.
Going up the chain Adam has friend and sponsor Mike (Tim Robbins), who is married to his childhood sweetheart (Joely Richardson) and seems to be in a warm loving relationship.
Below him Adam is mentoring a young doctor Neil (Josh Gad) who has been sent to the program due to a court order. Gad provides much of the humour, he's fat and hopeless and his school boy antics of looking up girl's dresses and bumping into them inappropriately has the audience in fits.
So the audience is laughing along with it all, the great banter, the innuendo, fat Neil and his foibles and his friendship with fellow sex addict Dede (Alecia Moore, who we know better as the pop singer Pink) when whamo there's is a break in the chain and everyone comes tumbling down.
What had been a comedy now turns to near tragedy like a hangover after the bubbling night of champagne or a sudden dark storm blighting a summer's day.
Some critics, and I think quite wrongly, have canned the movie for this change saying it can't decide what genre it is.
I was glad that Thanks for Sharing didn't deem to treat the serious topic of addiction in a flip way that refused to acknowledge the seriousness or the implications of addiction.
Because to be addicted to sex (and you can't just say I wish it were me here - nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more!) would in fact be a real problem. Imagine having to ask for a TV to be removed from your room every time you went on a business trip for fear of watching porn, or of walking down the street and being fearful of looking to your left or right because of endless sexual distraction or being unable to take the subway because of your close physical proximity to the opposite sex. Worse still, imagine losing your job because of the way you treat your colleagues as sexual objects - an all to common theme in our newspapers lately.
In the reviewer's session there were also a number of people from a psychologists' organisation and one could see why the film would be pertinent to their work because it touches on all kinds of addiction -- alcohol, drugs, food as well as sex. Then there's Little Miss Perfect who arrives at her first date with Adam after a 10km run. Not so odd, except the date she has planned is a long bike ride. Then there's her obsession with healthy food which she just happens to colour code, showing perhaps that even seemingly perfect people have their addictions.
Perhaps I have outweighed the seriousness of this movie and not dwelt enough on its sense of fun. Generally it really is a gorgeous romp with great quips, antics and a sense of the everyday ridiculousness in life.
But it is also a sugar coated pill. We suck up the sugar and laugh but then thankfully given the nature of the topic we are also hit with some hard felt realities about the nature and scope of addiction.
So thanks for reading this review and Stuart Blumberg - thanks for sharing.