Sunday, August 9, 2015

“Thanks for Sharing” (2013) By Tyler Wanek

"Feelings are like kids. You don't want them driving the car, but you don't want to stuff them in the trunk, either."
“Thanks for Sharing” (2013):

It’s difficult to find a romantic comedy that can sincerely take you by surprise, probably because the genre has been known to follow the same formula, more or less, for the last two decades or so with few exceptions. Going into “Thanks for Sharing”, I knew that the plot dealt with three different men - played by Mark Ruffalo, Josh Gad, and Tim Robbins, respectively - that have been or are trying to become sober from each’s sex addiction, and my expectations were that romance would be mixed in one way or another because it always does in these movies. Whatever - I’m a fan of the majority of the lead cast, and the trailer looked like it would be interesting enough to give it a fair shot. Most importantly, it doesn’t star Matthew McConaughey, so how bad could it be?
I wouldn’t say that “Thanks” was one of those aforementioned exceptions, however, it did end up playing out mostly different than I expected it to and I found the film that much more enjoyable because of it. For one, it’s not really a romantic comedy at all. There are a few cute moments in the early running, but there’s hardly any romance to speak about. Secondly, if I were to be completely honest, there really wasn’t even that much comedy, and I don’t mean that it tried to be funny and failed outright, but the humorous moments were simply that – moments. The humor in question is darker in nature than the trailers or even the damn poster art would imply. No, “Thanks for Sharing” plays more as a drama about the weight of addiction and its adverse effects on life and relationships with some light-hearted moments placed here and there as a relief.
Not only did the filmmakers do a good job of making the story and characters believable, but making a movie like this on a more serious note was a smart decision. Why? The masses still seem to be divided on what constitutes a real addiction and what doesn’t. Hell, the script introduces that doubt in a bit of dialogue between Ruffalo and Paltrow’s characters in regards to “sex addiction” being nothing more than an elaborate excuse for bad behavior. Keeping that in mind, while “Thanks” hardly felt like a soapbox platform in support of sex addiction being a real disease, at the same time, if it had tried to be a straight-forward comedy there’s no way the impressive 3rd Act would have been nearly as poignant and effective as it turned out.
Undoubtedly, without giving any spoilers, the film does ultimately end in the same predictable way even if it took a more emotionally complex road to get there. Since that was the case, though, I can respect it for the all the effort that it put in. Besides, there are not many ways you can end a movie like this anyway; I mean, sure, you could end it on a dour note where all the characters end up in a heap following their own set of trainwrecks, but to do so would be overly melodramatic and a sort of betrayal to the world the story sets itself up for in the opening scenes. There are a few jokes that don’t quite land as well, for example, no matter how innocent it’s made out to be, trying to crack a joke when attempting to rescue a young woman after she swallowed a bottle of pills is awkward and slightly tasteless.
Be that as it may, any complaints I would are few and far between and do not hamper the rhythm of “Thanks” in any detrimental way. The actors involved additionally do not exactly put their best *whole* foot forward, but they do buy into their roles enough to be relatable and human, and truly, that’s what is most important in a character-driven drama. My official diagnosis would be that the film is imperfect, and yet, in a way, is a faithful reflection of its characters and I can get behind the subtle value of that.
“Thanks for Sharing”: Recommended.

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