Thanks for Sharing

 
Mature sex-addiction dramedy has some highs but also lows.
  • Review Date: September 30, 2013
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 112 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Change doesn't happen overnight, and even the most disciplined people sometimes fail to follow through on promises to themselves and others, especially when it comes to addiction.

Positive role models

Adam is a genuinely good guy; so is his sponsor, Mike. But they're far from perfect, and they're sometimes knocked down by their own blind spots. Some inappropriate behavior from main characters, including objectification of others.

Violence

A knock-out, drag-out fight between a man and his parents; while he's scuffling with his father, he accidentally hits his mother. Also, one of the main characters -- who's a sex addict -- objectifies women and is shown taping up his supervisor's skirt and rubbing up against a woman in a subway train.

Sex

Frank talk about sex addiction and the triggers for it. A quick montage of a man in various sexual positions with a woman (no genitals shown). Characters are shown masturbating -- viewers don't see their private parts, but it's clear what they're doing. A woman talks about her dysfunctional sex life with her ex-boyfriend in somewhat graphic terms. Pornographic photos on DVD holders are glimpsed briefly. A woman performs a lap dance for her boyfriend.

Language

Language includes frequent use of "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "douchebag,"" "g-ddamn," and more.

Consumerism

Brands/products seen include iPhone, Apple computers, McDonald's, Rampage, 3 Musketeers, and more.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Talk of alcohol addiction, but viewers don't see anyone getting drunk. Also talk of a young man's drug addiction, but he's not shown getting high.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Thanks for Sharing is an ensemble dramedy that deals with some serious issues, particularly addiction to drugs, alcohol, and -- especially -- sex. There's frank, open discussion about things characters have done to satiate their cravings, and a few scenes show one character performing criminal acts to feed his addiction, including surreptitiously filming his supervisor up her skirt and rubbing up against a fellow subway passenger. Characters swear often ("f--k," "s--t," and more), and there are a few sex scenes, including a montage of a couple in various positions (no genitals are shown) and implied masturbation.

Kids say

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What's the story?

Adam (Mark Ruffalo) is a recovering sex addict who's five years sober: no encounters, no masturbation, no porn, despite the fact that even a walk down the streets of New York City can be a test of his willpower. But it has also been five years without a relationship, and his sponsor, Mike (Tim Robbins) -- who's been sober even longer, and not just from sex addiction but also from alcohol -- thinks it's time to test the waters. At a dinner party, Adam meets breast cancer survivor Phoebe (Gwyneth Paltrow), who might just be the one -- but intimacy between them threatens to unleash Adam's demons. Plus, she may be struggling with issues of her own. Meanwhile, Adam's sponsee, Neil (Josh Gad), a doctor who's good at his job but terrible about objectifying women (to the point that he turns to criminal acts to satisfy his dysfunctional yearnings) isn't doing the work. Can fellow Sexaholics Anonymous attendee Dede (Alecia Moore, aka the rocker Pink) be just the person to show him that recovery is the way?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The thing about movies about addiction and recovery is that, yes, you can infuse the pathos with humor. It's been done well before (and will hopefully be so again), but THANK YOU FOR SHARING doesn't hit the bar. While it has much to recommend it -- including the chance to see Pink do the finest acting job in a cast peppered with more experienced thespians -- there's really nothing charming about the criminality of some sex addicts. Gad takes on the difficult role of Neil, a doctor who's in the Sexaholics Anonymous program because it's mandated by a court but is shown continuing to indulge his criminal urges (upskirting, for one). But the movie depicts him as still redeemable -- as well as funny and charming enough to become the story's underdog hero. The tonal misfire grates. As do the missed opportunities, including the unexplored dysfunction of Paltrow's character -- at one point, a character makes a wise point about partners examining what they bring to a table, but the subject matter is dropped. Too heavy, perhaps, for a movie striving for laughs?

Robbins' storyline with his son (played to a crackling brilliance by Patrick Fugit) fares a little better, but Fugit is wasted here. So much more could have been said and done had the movie spent more time with him and Adam ... instead of trying to make us laugh and like Neil, maybe. That said, Ruffalo does make Adam the heart of the movie. He's wound so tight and is so committed to doing no wrong that when he's unable to hold his center, we can't help but weep for him a little bit.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the toll that addiction, in all its forms, takes on people. Where in the storyline is this made very clear? Is it an accurate depiction?

  • What is Thanks for Sharing saying about the journey of an addict after he or she quits? How can family help (or hurt)?

  • How does the movie depict sex? How do the different characters view it -- and its role in a relationship?

  • Talk to teens about how the movie shows that ads and signage are designed to sell using sex as the message. Is this true? How can you filter all that?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 20, 2013
DVD release date:January 7, 2014
Cast:Gwyneth Paltrow, Josh Gad, Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins
Director:Stuart Blumberg
Studio:Lionsgate
Genre:Comedy
Run time:112 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:language and some strong sexual content

This review of Thanks for Sharing was written by

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Quality

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byBestPicture1996 January 11, 2015
age 16+
 

Sex addiction is no joke in this comedy

This ensemble piece features something that most people would mock if you heard your friend tell you they had it: sex addiction. But there are a lot of great, layered, and even subtle performances in this film. Josh Gad is a standout in this movie, his Neil is the one you end up sympathizing with most, even though at first you can't stand listening to it. Mark Ruffalo is the straight arrow sober man trying to balance a girlfriend and his addiction, and Tim Robbins is the gruff yet lovable father who's weary of his former addict son. Even though there's a lot of fluffy dialogue in here, and a lot of kind of silly situations, you end up investing in these characters, wanting them to succeed, and cringing through their struggles. It's a very human story that, even though you probably don't have sex addiction, you'll end up relating to!
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much swearing

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