Director: Jake Kasdan
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Roy Corddry, Ellie Kemper, Rob Lowe
Written by: Jason Segel, Nicholas Stroller and (also story) Kate Angelo.
Running Time: 94 mins
Release date: 3rd September 2014
Looking at the trailer for Sex Tape (see above) you immediately think, low-brow, one gag charmless comedy and your expectations drop lower than your ankles. Yes, it doesn’t disappoint as far as the low expectations, the lack of charm and cheap humour is concerned…except I found myself actually sniggering and even giggling. Is that wrong?
Jay and Anna are a happily married couple whose sex life stopped the second they had children. So in order for them to enjoy an evening of passion, they decide to make a sex tape. What Jay doesn’t realise is that his recording has gone into the “cloud” and synced with all his iPad devices, most of which he has given away as gifts to friends and colleagues. When he starts getting mysterious text messages, he and Anna go on a mission to retrieve the iPads and delete the offending video.
The premise doesn’t exactly sound original and it’s not. Played out as a one-trick pony, it tries to be a little bit risky while not completely offending, throws a farcical tone that isn’t that farcical in the first place. It also is incredibly contrived as the first thing that came to my mind watching it is why didn’t he just delete it from his machine and sync it again. (This does get brought up half way through the film).
It starts off with a bang (literally) as we follow Anna and Jay in the early days of their courtship and their obsession with sex but this soon fizzles out as we get to the heart of the story, with the husband and wife running around trying to cover their tracks and get their devices back. There’s the odd tittle but most of the time, the jokes fall flat and don’t work. Then, out of the blue, a joke does work and it surprises you more than anything that something funny has happened in a sea of witless material.
Anna’s future boss, a heavy metal fan with a taste for cocaine and a passion for Disney, is a hoot while a surprise cameo has a funny scene where he and his security list a series of fictitious porn sites. These moments work and work better than expected but for a film that lasts 94 minutes, these are few and far between.
If only it has the balls to believe in these moments and steer away from the lame, cheap jibs and moralising, (and believe me, it moralises a lot from why people do porn to parenting to partnerships) this could have been a reasonable funny film. Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel (who looks slightly ill now he has lost lots of weight) throw themselves whole-heartedly into the proceedings and if the script had been stronger, they could have become a solid comedy double act.
This is a half-baked comedy that wants to preach more than make you laugh and if you want to be shocked or titillated by the sex scenes, forget about it. These are hardly exciting and you don’t see a thing (nope, Cameron Diaz does not surprise the world by going full nude). It’s an improvement on Jake Kasdan’s previous venture with Ms. Diaz, Bad Teacher but that’s not saying much. Not the total disaster that I was expecting but with more confidence in its subject matter and better jokes, this could have been a shock winner.