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Thanks For Sharing (15)

Thanks For Sharing, with Gwyneth Paltrow as Phoebe and Mark Ruffalo as Adam. Picture: PA Photo/Koch Media.
Thanks For Sharing, with Gwyneth Paltrow as Phoebe and Mark Ruffalo as Adam. Picture: PA Photo/Koch Media.

Russell Brand, Michael Douglas, David Duchovny and Charlie Sheen have all confessed to suffering from sex addictions that have impacted negatively on their careers.

Medics might dispute whether these urges are truly an addiction or the manifestation of deeper problems but treatment remains the same as tackling drink and drug abuse: identify and admit the problem then change the self-destructive behaviour.

Directed by Stuart Blumberg, Thanks For Sharing is a sensitively handled drama comedy that address the thorny subject of sex addiction through the eyes of three men, who are at constantly war with their physical desires.

There's a lot of frank discourse in the script, co-written by Matt Winston, and vivid scenes of characters succumbing to temptation in front of their computer screens.

While the online fantasises are undeniably X-rated, Blumberg's film aims for something less lurid, balancing brash comedy with tearful confessions.

He is aided by a strong ensemble cast including Alecia Moore, aka pop star P!nk, who could easily swap the recording studio for the film set on this evidence.

Adam (Mark Ruffalo) has been 'sober' for five years and celebrates in the company of his sponsor Mike (Tim Robbins) and other addicts.

"I remember when I couldn't go five days," jokes Adam, who has developed techniques, which he hopes to pass on to his sponsee, ER doctor Neil (Josh Gad).

The young medic initially lies about his progress but the arrival of a hairdresser called Dede (Moore) unexpectedly helps Neil to bares his soul: "I'm out of control, I'm scared and I need help!"

Meanwhile, Mike confronts the demons of the past when his drug addict son Danny (Patrick Fugit) returns home to make amends, and Adam dips his toes back into the dating pool with a breast cancer survivor called Phoebe (Gwyneth Paltrow).

"My tits are fake. That happens when the real ones try to kill you," she jokes.

Thanks For Sharing hits all of the emotional notes but is strangely underwhelming, even with the starry cast putting themselves through the wringer.

One character's inevitable fall from grace is counterbalanced by the tentative rise of another, reminding us that addicts are surrounded by temptation and cannot afford to let down their defences.

Robbins and Ruffalo are solid in underwritten roles and there's a palpable spark on screen between the latter and Paltrow.

Gad brings humour and vulnerability to his loner, whose views of women might stem from his relationship with his overly protective mother (Carol Kane).

Joely Richardson is poorly served as Mike's long-suffering wife, who has made many numerous sacrifices for her marriage.

Arguably, Blumberg's film doesn't make enough sacrifices and plays safe, hinting at the dark nooks and crannies of the human psyche that could be probed in a braver and more compelling film.

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