Thanks for Sharing: Let Go and Let Mark Ruffalo

Thanks for Sharing: Let Go and Let Mark Ruffalo

THANKS FOR SHARING Sex-addict Ruffalo meets tiny-food-eating Paltrow.

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Sex addiction is one of those things. Like restless leg syndrome—it might be real, but it just sounds a little bit suspicious, doesn't it? The new film Thanks for Sharing knows this, and it makes a point of explaining that sex addiction, like all addictions, is about control, and the thing that causes you to lose it. Early scenes feature men walking down the street, looking desperately uncomfortable while clocking every short skirt and low-cut T-shirt they see, every billboard model, every sexy bus ad. It's kind of a revelation, actually—we all know that just about every aspect of our culture is hypersexualized. How must that feel to a man who's powerless to resist it? One of the weird, impressive things about Thanks for Sharing is that it actually made me feel compassion for that guy, instead of wanting to hit him with my purse.

Thanks for Sharing is about a sex addict—Adam, played by the always-great Mark Ruffalo, has been "sober" for 5 years when the film begins, meaning he hasn't masturbated and has had no extra-relationship sex. He doesn't allow himself to watch TV or use the internet; on business trips, he asks room service to remove the flat-screen from his hotel room so he's not tempted into a porn binge.

Adam's sponsor in Sexaholics Anonymous, played by Tim Robbins, does double time in AA. A gruff man who has fully embraced the language and lifestyle of recovery, he's quick to drive across town to help a friend who's struggling, but he's at odds with his own ex-junkie son (plot point!). Rounding out the crew is Adam's sponsee, played by Josh Gad, a creepy dude who's in court-mandated treatment after groping a woman on the subway, and who finds redemption through a friendship with a sassy, ecstatic-dance-loving hairstylist, played with remarkable ease and naturalness by the singer Pink. (That sentence got weird.)

And then there's Adam's new girlfriend, Gwyneth Paltrow, whose character seems shaded with the knowledge that everyone kind of hates Gwyneth Paltrow, and that the only way we'll accept her as a romantic lead is if we can root for her to fail. So she's well-cast as a tightly wound type A who's training for a triathalon and only eats food in teeny, tiny portions.

Given that the very premise evokes a raised eyebrow, Thanks for Sharing handles its subject matter with humor and sensitivity—the film is at its best when tracking the effects of addiction on interpersonal relationships, and the complex and deep bonds that can develop between people in recovery programs. But it is one of those movies that makes you wish filmmakers didn't feel so married to the notion of a "story arc." As it builds to its (ugh, too literal) climax, it stops feeling like you're spying on a fascinating bunch of weirdos with really interesting and well-developed problems, and more like you're watching a reality TV show where the producers are suddenly showing their hand, forcing personality conflicts to the forefront. There's much to appreciate here—great, funny, lived-in performances; some genuine insights about sex, addiction, and relationships; seeing Gwyneth Paltrow taken down a peg—but it's too bad the script wanders into such formulaic territory. recommended


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I get fed up with movies that show the average looking guy with the hot girl. Paltrow in real life would never date an average or below average looking guy like Ruffalo. The hot girl / average guy and in some cases much older guy matchup is propaganda perpetuated by the primarily male establishment that runs Hollywood.. Most of the people that write and produce this crap want to portray the world in a way that favors them instead of how it really is. If you doubt that there is a bias ask yourself how often you see a movie with a stud leading man guy paired up with a plain girl.
Posted by barkbark on September 19, 2013 at 7:05 AM · Report this
Callie 3
Dude. What?! Mark Ruffalo is super hot.
Posted by Callie on September 19, 2013 at 10:08 AM · Report this
thelyamhound 4
Yeah, I'm with @3. Ruffalo average or below average? Paltrow out of his league? I'm a (more or less) heterosexual man (bisexually responsive, but in numbers that overwhelmingly favor women; I've also been married--to a woman--for over 17 years), and I'd take Ruffalo over Paltrow any day.
Posted by thelyamhound on September 19, 2013 at 11:24 AM · Report this
to ruffalo lovers - look at the guys that dated paltrow none of them look like ruffalo, lets be more specific paltrow is hot in the stereotypical way which means she would not date a guy that looks like ruffalo, you are welcome to think that ruffalo is hot , but someone that looks like paltrow would not date him, for one thing he is too short, which is fine for more open minded types but not for paltrow look alikes, thus my point - hollywood likes to stick not stereotypically hot guys with stereotypically hot girls but not the other way around
Posted by barkbark on September 19, 2013 at 5:44 PM · Report this
@ 5 - She's married to Chris Martin, in case you didn't know. I don't know anyone who thinks CM is hot (maybe 12 year old Coldplay fans, but how can we trust their tastes if they like Coldplay?), yet I do know a lot of people, including myself, who think Ruffalo is a catch.

That said, your point about Hollywood is valid, but this is a bad example to prove it.
Posted by Ricardo on September 20, 2013 at 8:42 AM · Report this
LaPuerta 7
Chris Martin is English... so he get's automatic +10 attractiveness for sexy accent and saying things like "lift", "jumper", and "rubbish".

Agree it's a bad example though, especially since (IMHO) Gwyneth Paltrow is fairly boring looking.
Posted by LaPuerta on September 20, 2013 at 10:24 AM · Report this
Gern Blanston 8
@2 Have you forgotten about Julia Roberts and Lyle Lovett? Or anyone and Marilyn Manson?
Posted by Gern Blanston on September 20, 2013 at 10:43 AM · Report this
I see hot girls with physically average/ugly guys all the time in real life. That's because girls are raised to view male attractiveness as having to do with more than just physical appearance. Think of all the ugly musicians, powerful businessmen, writers, etc...who have hot girlfriends. A man can become attractive because of his power, success, talent, etc...

Do men talk about how hot Martha Stewart or Oprah is?

It's so much more rare to see hot dudes with ugly girls, because men more often than not judge women on physical first. So if a guy is hot, he's usually not going to settle for a girl who is less hot. Which is why I fucking love Hugh Jackman.
Posted by Not fair, but pretty common on September 20, 2013 at 12:00 PM · Report this
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