- on Friday, 18 July 2014 18:04
- by Frank Wilkins
The modern technology of iPads, camcorders, and cloud computing clashes with the age-old challenges of how to keep marriage fresh in Sex Tape, a big wild comedy that begins with a promising idea but ultimately falls on its unfunny face.
That promising idea comes from the premise of married couple, Jay (Jason Segel) and Annie (Cameron Diaz), who are still very much in love but have had the fires of passion dampened by ten years and two kids. To rekindle the flames, they do what any couple in the throes of stagnation would do: they break out the tequila shots, a copy of Alex Comfort’s The Joy of Sex, and an iPad to record themselves trying out every sexual position in the illustrated best-seller.
Of course, it seems like a harmless idea until they run into the complexities of the digital age in which a copy of their video has mysteriously been uploaded to the cloud. Matters become even more complicated when Jay remembers that all those iPads he gave away as gifts are linked to his cloud account and have automatically downloaded a copy of their video for all to see.
Most of the remainder of the movie consists of Jay and Annie driving around town making up cockamamie excuses and getting themselves into outlandish situations while trying to retrieve those iPads before anyone sees their video. Only after the fact does Jay discover that one simple remote task – that anyone with even the slightest technical savvy – could have erased the video as well as their little problem. But then we wouldn’t have a movie, now would we?
It’s this constant barrage of careless oversights and lazy writing decisions that make Sex Tape a face-palming embarrassment. For instance, I’m not sure how we got from searching for iPads to hitting a German Shepherd in the face and snorting cocaine, but we do. It involves a ridiculously far-fetched sequence that takes place at the lavish mansion of Hank Rosenbaum (Rob Lowe), who owns the family-friendly company looking to buy Annie’s blog and who was given one of the iPads. The major shift in tone that occurs here is mind-boggling. And how does one so badly miss the opportunity to garner a few chortles from the irony of Rob Lowe’s appearance in a film about a sex tape? Mind-boggling.
Forget all that. There’s a another – much bigger – shortcoming that hinders our buy-in to the film’s main conceit and one that subsequently wrecks the entire film. Before we can even give a hoot about whether Jay and Annie ever get their video back, we must buy into the couple as real people. We don’t.
Jay and Annie are never rounded into full-fledged characters with likable personalities and believable jobs. We’re told Annie is a blogger about to become rich by selling her sex/marriage blog (oddly, to a wholesome, family-friendly company) and Jay has something to do with the music business or radio perhaps? We don’t buy into their lives, neither do we see their marriage as relatable. As a result, not only do we not care if they get their video back, but running counter to what the filmmakers had hoped for, we kind of hope they don’t.
There are a few memorable (and funny) moments peppered throughout this otherwise dreadful comedy, but even those were spoiled in the trailers months ago. A closing-act cameo by Jack Black as a porn kingpin is a pleasant surprise, but isn’t enough to overcome Kate Angelo’s limp (yes, I did) script.
MPAA Rating: R for strong sexual content, nudity, language and some drug use.
Runtime: 94 mins
Director: Jake Kasdan
Writer: Kate Angelo, Jason Segel
Cast: Jason Segel, Cameron Diaz, Rob Corddry
Genre: Comedy | Romance
Tagline: Their privates have just gone public.
Memorable Movie Quote: "That's the length of the movie "Lincoln". You did the full Lincoln."
Distributor: Columbia Pictures
Official Site: http://sextape-movie.tumblr.com/
Release Date: July 18, 2014
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: No details available.
Synopsis: Jay (Jason Segel) and Annie (Cameron Diaz) are a married couple still very much in love, but ten years and two kids have cooled the passion. To get it back, they decide why not? to make a video of themselves trying out every position in "The Joy of Sex" in one marathon three-hour session. It seems like a great idea, until they discover that their most private video has gone public. In a panic, they begin a wild night of adventure tracking down leads, roping in friends, duping Annies boss all to reclaim their video, their reputation, their sanity, and, most importantly, their marriage.
No details available.