Adam (Mark Ruffalo) has just reached the 5-year mark in his sex addiction sobriety with help from his sponsor Mike (Tim Robbins). New-comer Neil (Josh Gad) seeks out Adam's help hoping that he'll be his mentor, but Neil doesn't have the same maturity and continues to harass women at work, on the street, and on the subway. Adam has also just met Phoebe (Gwyneth Paltrow), who might be perfect for him, but Adam hasn't been in a relationship since he recognized his addiction to sex, and Phoebe doesn't date addicts. As Adam navigates the romantic relationship waters, Mike struggles connecting to his former drug-addicted son who has just returned home, and Neil develops a relationship with another woman in his sex addicts group, but a platonic friendship might be exactly what he needs. Written by
'It's like trying to quit crack while the pipe is attached to your body.'
'It's like trying to quit crack while the pipe is attached to your body' Stuart Blumberg is a director who takes chances (The Girl Next Door , The Kids Are All Right, Keeping the Faith). Using a screenplay he wrote in conjunction with actor Matt Winston he approaches a subject rarely touched upon (or even known about to the general public) – sex addiction – and with the very capable assistance of a superb cast of actors he brings it off. The film may disturb some, especially those easily offended by the degree of self indulgence that story addresses, but stay with this story to the end and be enlightened and touched by the triumph of the human spirit over seemingly insurmountable odds.
The story centers around three sex addicts who must attend 12 step meetings, have a sponsor, and refrain from onanism or frottage or viewing pornography, sharing their shortcomings at eh meetings of fellow addicts. Adam (Mark Ruffalo) is an environmental consultant whose has been 'sober' for five years and has as his sponsor Mike (Tim Robbins), a small business owner married to the supportive Katie (Jowly Richardson) with whom he has a disowned alcoholic son Danny (Patrick Fugit), and who is sponsor to the obese foolhardy voyeuristic frottage obsessed ER Doc Neil (Josh Gad) whose mother Roberta (Carol Kane) has no clue about her son's debilitating condition. The three men – Adam, Mike, and Neil - interact in needy ways and each faces a crisis he must address: Adam finally meets a girl to whom he can possibly relate, breast cancer survivor Phoebe (Gwyneth Paltrow); Mike must deal with his son Danny's return to the nest; Neil becomes tied to Dede (Pink) who is a sex addict of the first order and desperate to change. It all works in at times confusing ways, but always with a focus on the fragility of the addicted human being – no matter the source of dependency.
The film has its light moments, but it is certainly more of a drama than a comedy – except for the fact that 'all of life in the human comedy.' It is good to see a capable group take on a controversial subject and deliver it well.
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