Adam maintains control by keeping televisions and computers out of his apartment. Neil finds it impossible to throw his considerable porn collection out, and Mike, who's married, can't reconcile with his once drug-addicted adult son. That the main characters have good jobs, including Neil who's an emergency room doctor, underscores the fact that addiction includes more than ne'er do wells, though the predictable crises feel slightly too neat and controlled. More impact comes from meltdowns by two supporting players: one a recovering alcoholic and the other a self-loathing, masochistic ex-girlfriend.
To its credit, "Thanks for Sharing" nods to our range of addictions and problems. Adam's romantic interest Phoebe obsesses over exercise and ridiculously limits her food. Mike's wife notes that she focuses on her own issues, questioning why she married an addict. Many scenes indict our sex-obsessed culture where, as Mike observes, controlling sex addition is "like trying to quit crack when the pipe is attached to your body."
As Adam, Mark Ruffalo projects an appealing and delicate blend of calm resistance to his addiction while soundly communicating his on-going struggle to keep it in check. An actor who can telegraph charm like few others, Ruffalo is the perfect Adam who must invite empathy despite his problem. Similarly, as Mike, Tim Robbins masterfully embodies the self congratulatory, unforgiving father who can't admit his own flaws or, heaven forbid, apologize for past abuse.
As Phoebe, early in the film Gwyneth Paltrow relies too often on overstated smiles and self-deprecating cuteness. That suggests that director Stuart Blumberg, also a co-writer, needed to assert more guidance. Josh Gad's Neil projects a three-dimensional character desperate to gain control and stop lying to himself, as well as everyone else in his life. A snapshot of a serious problem, "Thanks for Sharing" offers insight in an entertaining film. At a Landmark Theatre.