Review: Sex Tape

Sex Tape
5 10

PLOT: A married couple decides to make a sex tape in oder to spice up their lives, but disaster strikes after it is accidentally sent to several friends and family members.

REVIEW: I smiled, I grinned, I might have even snickered a few times, but I never actually heartily laughed during SEX TAPE, the raunchy new comedy from Jake Kasdan starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel. It's a movie that goes well out of its way to be as smutty and dirty-minded as possible, but much like Kasdan's last effort BAD TEACHER (which this is much better than), there's a lesson to be learned that just saying filthy things doesn't automatically make them funny, you have to earn the laughs. And the weird thing about SEX TAPE is, it doesn't want to work very hard.

SEX TAPE does get by, barely, on its stars. Diaz and Segal are thoroughly game for anything, it would seem, and there's enough chemistry between them to make us invest in their plight. It's just too bad the movie resorts to familiar jokes and sitcom-style antics; these two probably would have gone very freaky places. (Then again, Segel is credited as a writer on the flick, so he gets his fair shame of blame.) SEX TAPE wants us to think it's being cutting edge and risqué, but really it's happy to coast along on its central premise without offering up any genuine "oh my god!" moments. But it's a tolerable ride, with a series of enjoyable side characters who help energize the film when it begins to lag.

Annie and Jay are stuck in a sexless rut. Years ago, they would do the deed every which way, location didn't matter. The library, the car, the park, etc. But after getting married and having two kids, they've fallen into a familiar routine where they either have to plan sex days in advance or simply not have it. In an effort to give their libidos a boost after a night of failed intimacy, Annie suggests making a sex tape, which naturally Jay is down for, under the condition it's erased the next day. Jay, being a stupid man (this is the kind of movie where just about every man is a lunk-headed imbecile), doesn't realize that filming the sex tape on his iPad will automatically sync the porno to all of his other iPads - which he's given away to friends and family. Thus begins their desperate struggle to retrieve every iPad and erase the damning evidence.

That's essentially all the movie has to offer; if there were ever a one-joke movie in the world, this is it. (I'd also mention it's thoroughly preposterous, but we'll let that go.) But while there are one or two amusing stops along the couple's journey to destroy their mistake, there's a distinct laziness that eventually takes over, a shame since there's so much potential in the concept. A sequence where Segel is harassed by a vicious guard dog feels so very recycled - this is a hard-R sex comedy and you're resorting to a fight with a dog? Indeed, there aren't even many misadventures for Diaz and Segal to get into; the film appears determined to keep them limited to just a few set-pieces, and most sequences run on way past their expiration date. It's a poorly edited movie. Most shots hold on the two leads for a beat too long, always trying to wring one last wacky reaction shot from them, which draws impatience from the audience more than anything else.

Diaz and Segel are an affable pair, and actors without their comedic timing would have sent this movie into a downward spiral fast. Diaz, as ever, will strip down to her bare essentials for our viewing pleasure just as quickly as she'll say something disgusting or contort herself into a mess for an easy laugh. It would be great if one day she starred in a comedy actually worthy of her effort. Segel is up to the task of keeping up with Diaz, and his best moments are when he's saying nothing at all, his face going through a mixture of puzzlement and horror at the predicament they're in. Rob Corddry and Ellie Kemper are enjoyable as the couple's best friends, who join the adventure briefly and find themselves turned on by the explicit nature of the tape, and there's a great little performance by a young man named Harrison Holzer, who attempts to blackmail Segel.

Let's talk about Rob Lowe, though. Rob Lowe has a strange supporting turn as Diaz's potential employer, and since of course he's in possession of one of the tainted iPads (in this movie, people just give away iPads like they're DVDs), Diaz and Segal must go to his house to snatch it back. Lowe is playing a prissy type who has decided to let loose while his family is away, and it's a marvelous piece of acting, subtle and funny. It's an unwise choice on the movie's part to only make him a pitstop, as he'd likely liven up the humdrum proceedings that follow his exit.

(Special note: A lot of people are wondering if our stars go "full frontal" in the film, as has been reported. The answer is… no. While it's clear that they're naked during the sex scenes, and we do indeed see plenty of skin, we never fully glimpse the goods. Sorry folks. There are plenty of butt shots, though ;)

Source: JoBlo.com



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