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(out of 5)

Shame presented sexually compulsive behavior as the background upon which director Steve McQueen could render all his own personal feelings of the titular anguish without the least bit of honesty or credibility; Stuart Blumberg’s romantic comedy on the same subject has plenty of moments that veer into sitcom humour, but he provides a cold-light-of-day view on the same condition that involves what Shame lacked far too much of: stakes.  plays a recovering sex addict (a factually incorrect label, you can only be addicted to substances) who attends meetings with his sponsor () while trying to put his life back together. He has also recently become sponsor to doctor , who has a bad habit of rubbing up against women on the subway and is now court-ordered to attend meetings. Robbins, meanwhile, has family drama to deal with when his long-estranged, former drug addict son (, all grown up and performing wonderfully) returns home to him and his suffering wife (). Ruffalo meets  at a dinner party and the two of them hit it off (I’m hard-pressed to think of anyone who doesn’t have great chemistry with Gwyneth Paltrow) and gets into a relationship with her; is he ready, or is he in danger of falling into the same spiral of self-destruction that got him into this mess in the first place?  makes a wisely timed move to acting as another member of their therapy group who befriends Gad and they become each other’s support in a film that is light-hearted and genuinely funny but strikes enough deep chords to make it memorable. Its various elements don’t click together perfectly every step of the way, but its missteps, mostly from trying to make real life problems fit into a comedic model, are far too faint to prevent it from being worth your time.

Class 5 Films, Olympus Pictures

USA, 2012

Directed by

Screenplay by Stuart Blumberg,

Cinematography by

Produced by , , , ,

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Toronto International Film Festival:  2012


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