COMIC DRAMA; 1hr 50min
STARRING: Gwyneth Paltrow, Mark Ruffalo, Pink, Tim Robbins, Josh Gad
Bench work: Ruffalo and Paltrow
“It’s like trying to quit crack while the pipe is attached to your body,” Mike (Robbins) assures his 12 Step sex-addiction group, with the flat certainty of experience. Everybody in the room could second that emotion, even though they’re in very different places. After being sexually sober for five years, businessman Adam (Ruffalo) is venturing back into a dating game (with Paltrow’s Phoebe), which for him is anything but. Slobby doctor Neil (Gad) is almost out of control. Newcomer Deedee (Pink, aka Alecia Moore, relaxing into her first onscreen role) is beginning to feel her rehabbing way. It’s just another day in sex-addicted Manhattan, where every chance encounter is a potential sobriety disaster.
Director Stuart Blumberg takes a gentler stand with this smoking gun than Steve McQueen did with 2011’s shattering Shame: where that film made a beeline for the jugular, Sharing is light-dappled shade. The ensemble cast grabs every inflammatory opportunity, yet there’s always a sense that these casualties will fumble and limp to a more fulfilling place. That’s partly a relief and partly a soft-pedalling annoyance: for those in the testing grip of it, life is seldom as convenient or as kind.