Thursday, September 19, 2013

Thanks for Sharing Movie Review

Mark Ruffalo & Tim Robbins (r) in Thanks for Sharing

"An Entirely Different Animal"

'Is it me, or is Manhattan one big, fu*king catwalk?' asks Mike (Tim Robbins) in Stuart Blumberg's feature debut Thanks for Sharing. Um, yes it is; and word to the wise... probably not the best place to live if you're a sex addict. Hang on, sex addiction? Is that even real? I still have my doubts; but that doesn't change the fact that Thanks for Sharing is a blast to watch, even though it's mislabeled as a "romantic comedy."

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: On the surface Adam (Mark Ruffalo), an over-achieving environmental consultant, Mike (Tim Robbins), a long-married small-business owner, and Neil (Josh Gad), a wisecracking emergency-room doctor, have little in common. But all are in different stages of dealing with addiction. Confident and successful in his career, Adam is afraid to allow love back into his life, even if that means losing a chance to start over with smart, beautiful and accomplished Phoebe (Gwyneth Paltrow); Mike's efforts to control his wife, Katie (Joely Richardson), and son, Danny (Patrick Fugit), as tightly as he does his impulses are tearing the family apart; and Neil is still deeply in denial when befriended by Dede (Pink), who has just begun to take her own small steps back to health.. As they navigate the rocky shores of recovery, Adam, Mike and Neil become a family that encourages, infuriates and applauds each other on the journey toward a new life.

What’s Best: Is Gwyneth Paltrow taking off or what? Never mind the fact that we get to see her in a state of undress twice; but the Oscar winner appears to be Hollywood's "it" actress of the moment. She proves adorable at times in this one, although I could do without all the cutesy, boyfriend-girlfriend stuff with Ruffalo early on.

When it's not taking itself too seriously, Thanks for Sharing packs plenty of pop into the world's most entertaining addiction (Can you imagine if these same folks were hooked on LSD?) The quintet of Ruffalo, Paltrow, Robbins, Gad & Pink blend well together; and the subject matter pretty much takes care of the rest.

What’s Not: It's hard to overlook a sense of deja vu, especially with regards to Ruffalo & Robbins. Ruffalo's character mirrors his Bruce Banner/Incredible Hulk turn in Marvel's The Avengers, only he substitutes "Don't get me angry," with "Don't get me horny." Meanwhile, Robbins' zen-like Mike looks an awful lot like Sergeant Fred Cheaver in the underrated The Lucky Ones. Thankfully, both actors are top notch; so you can forgive the familiarities.

On the other hand, I'm not nearly as forgiving for some of the writing... Paltrow's 'I'm shvitzing like a Russian gangster,' and her timely declaration 'I think this is a good time to tell you, I had breast cancer five years ago,' leaves much to be desired. Did I mention the latter was said in a park, on a first date, followed up by 'I'm as serious as cancer.' Who doesn't love cancer jokes?

Best Line: Cancer jokes don't hold a candle to Robbins' classic 'I gave Katie Hep(atitis) C, and she stuck with my ass.' Mind you, this wasn't even during an AA meeting... just casual conversation. Unfortunately, Pink's 'Now go tell Mommy you're a sex addict,' won't make anyone forget the words to "Get the Party Started."

Overall: Sure it's cheesy at times, and oddly depressing (Isiah Whitlock Jr. busting up a wall, leaps to mind) but I couldn't help but take to the outrageous methods used to suppress one's addictions. No taking the subway. No computers or TV. Wouldn't it be easier to just hook up with a fellow addict? I'm not sure this would work at all with a different cast; but with this cast, and some of the material... It's worth a look.