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Sex addiction gets superficial treatment in ‘Thanks for Sharing’

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Scene from Thanks for Sharing.

Two stars

Thanks for Sharing Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins, Josh Gad. Directed by Stuart Blumberg. Rated R. Opens Friday.

The directorial debut of The Kids Are All Right co-writer Stuart Blumberg, Thanks for Sharing is a weak comedy-drama that relies heavily on familiar elements from both genres. Although it deals with the under-explored subject of sex addiction, Sharing treads well-worn territory, and its central relationships often ring false.

The movie follows three addicts as they struggle with their recovery: Consultant Adam (Mark Ruffalo) is embarking on his first romantic relationship after five years of abstinence; contractor Mike (Tim Robbins) is the group’s resident sage but has trouble reconnecting with his drug-addict son (Patrick Fugit); and doctor Neil (Josh Gad) had been court-ordered to attend the group after being caught fondling women on the subway. Their arcs all play out fairly predictably, although Neil’s friendship with a fellow addict (Alecia Moore, aka singer Pink) avoids the most obvious dramatic pitfalls.

Blumberg offers up feeble, cutesy comedy in Adam’s burgeoning romance with an upbeat triathlete (Gwyneth Paltrow) and in Neil’s ill-fated bike-riding efforts (since he has to avoid the subway), and when the stories turn more serious, the big moments come off as completely phony. Ruffalo and Paltrow in particular have no chemistry, and both their flirty banter and their emotional breakdowns seem forced. Blumberg fills the soundtrack with cloying acoustic ballads, and he ends the movie with the kind of faux-heartfelt musical montage that would close an episode of a mediocre TV drama. At least those shows have the advantage of developing their characters further in the next episode

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