If I was a sex addict and Gwyneth Paltrow wanted to bang me, do I really have to say “no”? Can’t I at least get one pass or something?
Adam (Mark Ruffalo) is a sex addict who’s been that way for quite some time and finds it a step-by-step process everyday. That means no jerking off, porn, television, internet, nothing. He can’t even have girlfriends, and if he can, he doesn’t really find them coming his way due to his lack of sex. However, when the fun and vibrant Phoebe (Gwyneth Paltrow) comes strolling through, Adam’s stuck with the challenge of staying true to his intentions guide-lines, while also pleasuring her in the best ways possible, even if that does mean sexual. However, this isn’t just all about Adam’s recovery, it’s also about two other dudes that join him on a day-to-day basis in meetings and getting through recovery as well. Mike (Tim Robbins) is still trying to live with the fact that he’s gotten his wife (Joely Richardson) through a sexually-transmitted disease, while also trying to build back the relationship with his son (Patrick Fugit), whereas Neil (Josh Gad) doesn’t take this “recovery” as serious, and begins to find himself in some trouble with the law if he doesn’t partner-up with somebody and get help from them.
I know that sex addiction is a real problem that people in this world struggle with, day in and day out, but I can’t feel like the media establishes it as something of a joke. Anytime you ever hear of a celebrity get caught cheating (mainly a male), the excuse is always being a sex addict, and everybody hears it as fact, not thinking that that said celebrity who just caught philandering around, wasn’t just a sleeze-ball. Makes you think about all of those REAL people out there, who are REALLY going through with this problem with sex addiction, but so be it. That’s how the media’s always going to portray it, and there’s no sense in me bitching about it.
However, what I can bitch about is this movie, and its portrayal of that same sex addiction that’s so prevalent in so many people’s lives out there, which feels like it’s respectable, but isn’t doing it much justice either. What I did like about this film right off the bat was how it showed that going through a recovery is a joint-group effort that isn’t done through one lonely person, it’s done through everyone that that person reaches out to and asks for help. Hell, sometimes those people don’t even reach out for a lending hand, sometimes it just comes to them. It’s basic, pure instinct and I think that’s what I liked so much about this movie’s message.
Whenever we see any movie about addiction (sex, drugs, alcohol, etc.) we always see one person, sad, lonely, wanting love and help, but never getting it. However, with this movie, we see a group of people having to deal with this problem everyday of their lives, and trying their best to get through it all, in one piece and their right mind-set still intact. Makes you feel all warm, cozy, and happy inside, knowing that whatever it is that you’re going through, you aren’t alone in it.
But then again though, the message can be a bit hokey if you think about the actual addiction itself: Sex addiction. it’s not a pretty thing, and if Shame is any indication to the sorts of limits it will drive a person to, you can be sure as hell certain that if you become one, you’re going to be fucked (literally, and figuratively). That’s why, although I liked how the film showed its group of addicts going through this problem together, at the end of the day, it feels too wholesome and clean for something that can be so dirty, raunchy, and downright nasty. Then again, I’m just basing this all off of my own opinions of what sex addiction is, and what Shame presented to me, so if I’m wrong, please do let me know.
Though it’s not even the whole “feel-good” vibe that surrounds most of this movie that bothered me, it was more that the tone was just so off and never able to find its own groove. Moments that seem like they should be funny in an over-sexxed, over-the-top way, end up being a little sadder than they should be; and the scenes that are supposed to be all melodramatic and serious, sort of come off as a bit corny. The movie never really knows what it wants to be, so instead, it just sets itself somewhere in the middle of a light-hearted comedy, and dark, addiction melodrama, with bits and pieces of motivation thrown in there for good measure. It bothered me more than I expected it to, and really took away from the important message at the center of it all that I’ve already alluded to more times than I probably should have. You get what I’m saying though. No reason to reiterate.
The only way this movie is saved in any way, is through its ensemble that work their rumps off with the mediocre script they were so sadly given. Mark Ruffalo is good as Adam, however, the only reason the character’s any ounce of interesting, is because Ruffalo makes him that way. We never really get much information on his past, why he is the way he is now, and whether or not that had any effect on his love life back in the day. We don’t even get mentions to it, which made it somewhat feel like this character was just thrown in and used as the lead character because Ruffalo’s a more than capable actor. Poor guy, deserves so much better. And hell, I could probably say the same thing about Gwyneth Paltrow who, for what it’s worth, is actually very good and fun to watch on screen. In fact, I’d say that the chemistry between her and Ruffalo is so good, that I probably would have not had a problem with seeing them in their own movie, with or without the sex addict-angle. They’re fun, light, jumpy, and bring out the best in one another.
Somewhere, Tony Stark is blowing steam out of his ears.
Tim Robbins is also pretty good in one of his best roles in awhile as Mike, the older, more seasoned guy that’s been down this addict road many of times, understands what it can do to one person, and how it affects the ones you love. Robbins is good, even if his character’s interactions with Adam can be a bit awkward, especially since it seems like they’re on the verge of making-out almost every time they’re together. Even Mike’s son makes a reference to that, and leaves them both shocked and upset, but seriously, if only they saw the way they were hand-shaking. Some seriously “unbroish” stuff going on there, man.
Josh Gad is, once again, playing that obnoxious, over-weight, Jewish, creepy dude that can’t seem to ever get laid for the life of him, but yet, still tries to do so. Gad’s good at it, don’t get me wrong, I just wish people would throw more roles his way that weren’t so one-note, and maybe a bit more humane. However, I have to give him and Alecia Moore, aka Pink, a lot of credit for handling their chemistry so well, and making it seem like they really could be besties, even under the circumstances presented in front of them. Good for them, and good for her, because’s she actually pretty good as an actress. Makes me forget all about that annoying “So What” song that every girl in grade-school sang at the top of her lungs! God, grade-school, such an eternity ago.
Consensus: The message behind Thanks For Sharing may be a little lighter than what you’re used to with most movies about addiction, and for that reason, it’s tone is very off, even if the cast does what they can to keep it all together without having it fall apart.
5 / 10 = Rental!!