Thanks for Sharing

For the sex-addiction-stories completist, or that discerning moviegoer seeking some sort of mainstream-ready middle ground between Steve McQueen’s austere, ever-so-serious Shame and Caveh Zahedi’s daffy, onanistic I Am A Sex Addict, Stuart Blumberg’s Thanks for Sharing might do very nicely. Here Blumberg, the writer of The Kids Are All Right, makes his directorial debut, co-scripting with the actor Matt Winston, in Winston’s screenwriting debut. So there’s a mostly helpful mix of an old hand’s familiar confidence and a first-timer’s vulnerable uncertainty. The film divides its attentions among a trio of twelve-steppers in New York City, played by Tim Robbins, Mark Ruffalo, and Josh Gad in a pally hierarchy of mutual sponsorship. Respectively, their relational challenges also include an estranged former-junkie son (Patrick Fugit), a daunting new love interest (Gwyneth Paltrow), and a funky anti-fuck-buddy (Pink) who’s also in the program. Blumberg seems like a fan of the program, by the way, although he’s on guard against any sanctimony about healthy boundaries. As the characters fall into their simultaneous crises, which seem more or less authentic even if the simultaneity itself seems exaggeratedly movieish, Ruffalo shows off his gift for squirming sympathetically under pressure, and Robbins has a good time dispensing aphorisms like “Worry’s just a meditation on shit” or “Feelings are like children: You don’t want ’em driving the car, but you don’t want to stuff ’em in the trunk either.” The film’s title catches the irony that watching it might feel a little like prying, but it gets by on good chemistry and many enjoyably actorly moments; like days in recovery, these do add up.