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Blu-ray Review: 'Thanks for Sharing'

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The Film:

Writer/Director Steve McQueen has already taken on the serious side of sex addiction in his 2011 film “Shame,” so why hasn’t someone made a film about the more comedic side of the disease? Probably because it would turn out something like “Thanks for Sharing,” the latest film from Stuart Blumberg, who previously co-wrote the screenplay to the outstanding “The Kids Are All Right.” Here we have several linking stories that involve dealing with the disease and not allowing it to ruin the characters’ lives. There’s Adam (Mark Ruffalo), who’s been coping with his problem for the past five years and is ready to get back into the dating world. Shortly after, he meets Phoebe (Gwyneth Paltrow) and begins a relationship, but he finds it difficult to disclose his past struggles with the addiction. Mike (Tim Robbins), Adam’s sponsor, is a highly-respected figure in the sex addict group where all of our characters meet, but things at home are shaken up a bit when his son, Danny (Patrick Fugit), a young man with a criminal past, suddenly returns home to his parents after several years. Finally, we have Neil (Josh Gad), who has a lot of trouble doing the work that the program requires, but thanks to his relationship with one of the new group members, Dede (Alecia Moore), he finally buckles down and takes it a lot more seriously.

“Thanks for Sharing” is a film that obviously wants to be both a drama and a comedy. Unfortunately, Blumberg didn’t really pick a subject that supports both genres very well, leading to a very sloppy tone. One instant, you’ll be with Adam as he tries to move on with his life through his relationship with Phoebe, the next, we’re thrown into Neil’s humorous story that involves he and Dede supporting each other as they fight their addiction. Then, to make things worse, he also tries to include the completely random subplot involving Mike’s son that feels like it belongs in a different film. On top of the inconsistent tone and superfluous subplot, the stories themselves just aren’t all that engaging. You can tell pretty early on where they’re going to go, leading to a firm feeling of indifference as the characters go about their lives. That being said, at the very least you get a very talented ensemble. Ruffalo, Paltrow, and Robbins all slip into their parts well enough, and Gad and Moore do provide a good laugh or two, but the material just isn’t strong enough, leading to a lot of star power, but no staying power. When all’s said and done, you won’t have much of a reason to thank them for sharing at all.

Video/Audio:

The film is presented in a 1.78:1, 1080p transfer that presents no visible problems. We are treated to a sharp and clear picture throughout the presentation with good colors and no noticeable fuzziness. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is just a little on the soft side, but other than that, it provides an excellent experience, mixing all layers perfectly and ensuring that every little sound can be heard clearly.

Special Features:

Deleted/Extended Scenes: As usual, there’s nothing mind-blowing here, but if you’re curious as to what was left on the cutting room floor, then it’s worth taking a look.

One Step at a Time: Making Thanks for Sharing: This featurette starts out well by having the cast and crew discuss various aspects of the project, but then it unfortunately sinks into one of those “it was great to work with ‘so-and-so,’ they were perfect!” extras, so really only about the first five minutes are worth watching.

Gag Reel: Nothing all that amusing here. Easily skipable.

Commentary with Writer/Director Stuart Blumberg and Writer Matt Winston: There are a few tidbits of info to be learned here, but for the most part it doesn’t get into much depth, so it’s not particularly worth listening to.

Conclusion:

As far as the extras go, there’s not much here that delves into any kind of depth about the making of the film, but it’s not particularly surprising given that there probably isn’t a whole lot to say about this misguided project. Blumberg was hoping to be able to blend drama and comedy into a touching story about people coping with a disease, but sadly he ends up with a mixture that’s more like oil and water. Even if he had focused on one genre alone, the predictable and unengaging nature of the narratives would’ve brought it crashing down anyway. “Thanks for Sharing” clearly needed an overhaul before it was ready to be shared at all.

Score: 2.5/5

Available on Blu-ray and DVD starting tomorrow.

Recent Blu-ray/DVD releases: Insidious: Chapter 2, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, Elysium, The Hunt, Touchy Feely, The Rooftop, Drinking Buddies, Inpractical Jokers: Season One, Planes, Paranoia, The To Do List, Blackfish

Now playing in theaters: The Wolf of Wall Street, Her, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Inside Llewyn Davis, American Hustle, Saving Mr. Banks, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Dallas Buyers Club

Also be sure to check out my lists of the Best and Worst Films of 2013.

Follow me on Twitter @BeckFilmCritic.

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