Sunday 13 October 2013


Despite a trio of quite starry actors in three of the main roles (Ruffalo, Paltrow, Robbins) to which one can add Joely Richardson and Pink (Alecia Moore), I found this borderline boring. Ennui set in early on, and at just shy of two hours it was rather too long.
Released last year in America (why do we get so many films so much later?) and classed as a drama/romantic comedy, evidence of the last word seldom shows.
One review on IMDb finds the script "incredible" and "not trite". I disagree, finding it uninspiring throughout.

Ruffalo (sadly for me, with a fur-less face this time) and Robbins meet up in a self-help group of compulsive sexual behaviour addicts. Hence the film's title. It's an unusually large group.
So far so good. Pretty sure I've not found this subject addressed on film before. Ruffalo meets up with Gwyneth at a social function and attraction is immediate. Unsurprisingly, he keeps his addiction from her - until she accidentally finds out about it after the bonking has started, leading to an off-on relationship for the remainder of the film.
Robbins, living with his wife, is visited by his long-since-left adult son and who both try to get over their past mutual hostilities, not entirely successfully.

I was hoping I'd like this film more. I didn't think the Paltrow/Ruffalo relationship looked convincing on screen and though Tim Robbins in particular was good, as he just about always is, it wasn't sufficient to rescue this.
There are also a few glaring lapses of continuity.

Btw: They keep referring to sexual addiction as a 'disease'. Thinking about that word, I'd assumed that a 'disease' was a physical illness, set off at a micro level with a virus, germ, bacterium etc. I could be wrong, or it may be that it's one of those words applied differently in American English and British English.
Also, in a hospital, would one ever really find a female, white-coated doctor, visiting patients wearing six-inch stilettos? I would have thought that they weren't the most practical shoes when she has to make an emergency bee-line, and I should have expected health regulations to demand more functionally appropriate footwear. But again, I'm ready to accept that it may happen.

A strangely unmemorable film, and therefore not one I'd recommend, except to wile away a couple of hours, perhaps awaiting something more interesting to do...........................5.


  1. This one just opened here in the States about two weeks ago. In fact, Paltrow and Robbins are currently making the rounds of the talk shows to drum-up business.

    I have one reason for not seeing this and that is Josh Gad. I find nothing funny about him. He became everyone's darling after his turn in "The Book Of Mormon." But I found nothing funny about him in the show and at $120 a ticket I was, to be blunt, pissed off. So, a big pass on this one.

    1. I deliberately ignored him in my posting, Paul, because while it's true that he's intended to provide a 'comedic' dimension in the film (and he does get quite a substantial share of screen time) he seemed to be there to show how an overweight and verbally gauche guy can be funny - and he just isn't. His leering at young ladies on the subway while he's going to work as a male nurse, and his fighting the desire to touch them (his giving-in leads to his joining the group at the start) made me uncomfortable. I know his condition was intended to be regarded sympathetically but I think it badly misfired.

      I got the '2012 release date' from IMDb. Perhaps it's just a mistype.

      (I'd have LOVED to have seen 'Mormon'. I think it's still running in London and it did get spectacularly good reviews. Not sure if young Mr Gad is or was part of a cast that came over to do it here. From what you say he rather spoiled the entire show .)

  2. The definition of 'disease' is always a controversial matter when it comes to human behavior. Most folks still feel smoking, eating too much, compulsive activites and yes sexual acting out are mere weakness of character not disease.

    1. I was hoping you'd appear here to give me an answer to this one, Dr Spo, because if anyone was to know, you would.
      So it's a 'grey' area. which is unsurprising. While I can't see your examples as coming within the definition of a 'disease' I certainly wouldn't go along with 'weakness of character' either. 'Character trait' is a bit less judgmental though that carries a shade of justification because there's an implication that it can't be changed, or it's difficult to do.
      I'd better stand back and leave it to the experts to disagree among themselves.