Sex Tape (2014)
Their privates have just gone public.
Cameron Diaz, Bad Teacher (2001), and Jason Segel, Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008), strip down to their unmentionables for the raunchy new flick Sex Tape, a comedy where the couple, Annie and Jay, make a sex tape on their iPad in order to rejuvenate their banal ten-year marriage. Technology backfires when the footage inadvertently gets uploaded to the iCloud, making it viewable to their family, friends and acquaintances on the many iPad devices the pair gave out as hand-me-down gifts. It’s rather interesting to note however that several reports have been popping up online clarifying any misunderstandings regarding the privacy of the Apple products featured in the film, with sources claiming that the picture’s basic premise is based on a false notion that can never actually happen.
Those who have used Apple products before understand that while videos can definitely be backed-up onto iCloud for safe keeping, an external party cannot go into someone else’s iCloud to view their private contents for leisure. Furthermore, the footage cannot ‘accidentally’ be uploaded onto the iCloud either, as users need to change settings for these uploads to occur. The picture uses a ‘fictional’ syncing application to explain this theory, but either way, the whole concept is difficult to swallow. In any case, some will certainly find the film’s plotline unfeasible, while others — those seeking to see a nude Diaz and Segel — will perhaps forgive the film’s implausible idea.
Strait off the bat, Sex Tape doesn’t feature any ‘actual’ nudity nor is it particularly laugh-out-loud funny due to a number of apparent reasons. Honestly, who hears the name Cameron Diaz and thinks, ‘she’s hilarious?’ Sure, most women can associate with her, and guys no doubt find Diaz easy on the eye, but funny? Similarly, Jason Segel can definitely entertain — just look at his work on 2011’s The Muppets — but side-splitting doesn’t necessarily come to mind when watching a Segel vehicle either. Thankfully, Diaz and Segel are dynamic enough to generate a few laughs along the way, refining the chemistry they clearly kindled on the set of their last collaboration, Bad Teacher (2011). Oddly enough though, the picture’s secondary players provide the majority of the film’s comedy.
Sex Tape becomes slightly more appealing in its second act, when the couple must use all means necessary to retrieve their footage before the damage becomes irreversible; here viewers are introduced to a handful of colorful supporting characters. Rob Corddry, Hot Tub Time Machine (2010), and Ellie Kemper, Bridesmaids (2011), add some much needed, well-timed laughs to proceedings as the pair’s best friends, Robby and Tess, who agree to help retrieve some of the second-hand iPads on what happens to be the night of their twelfth wedding anniversary. Then there’s Rob Lowe, from television’s The West Wing (1999), as wealthy oddball investor, Hank — who just bought Annie’s blog for his family network — spoofing his former bad boy image, offering drugs to Annie while listening to Slayer, as Jay runs around the CEO’s mansion trying to locate one of the iPads. Finally — when Annie and Jay are eventually forced to go directly to an amateur online sex site to physically destroy their servers — a ‘secret’ uncredited cameo by Jack Black, School of Rock (2003), rejuvenates some of the picture’s now fading energy.
Sex Tape surprisingly feels more like a rom-com opposed to the crude affair it promises to be, and the script written by Segel, Kate Angelo, The Back-up Plan (2010), and Nicholas Stoller — director of the slightly superior Neighbors (2014) — takes way too long to get going — it even takes quite some time for the actual filming of the sex tape to occur — what’s more, Sex Tape sometimes plays out like a lengthy advertisement for Apple products — the screenwriters even throw Apple’s iMovie into the mix for no good reason. The picture’s pacing also feels rather off as director Jake Kasdan — who is no stranger to working with improbable narratives, just look at his last picture, Bad Teacher (2011) — struggles to blend traditional romantic comedy elements with today’s porn-addled digital world, resulting in a tonally messy affair. Even the film’s finale, where viewers get a chance to finally see some of the sex tape recording — which, similar to 2009’s The Hangover, was apparently altered to achieve the picture’s R-rating — is kind of a let down, as we’ve seen raunchier work from both Segel — remember his gratuitous full frontal nudity in Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008) and Diaz. In spite of this, the flick’s score by Michael Andrews, Neighbors (2014), is spot-on; a joyous homage to the customary campy real-life porno soundtracks, adding bounce to some of the film’s flatter scenes.
While there’s a certain fluffiness to Sex Tape, and the performances are uniformly likable, the picture as a whole is too muddled and plays it too safe to come across as anything other than a textbook effort, which offers little in terms of big laughs. The film’s interesting premise is also squandered, as this romantic comedy ultimately fails to deliver on the far-fetched concept’s enormous potential.
2.5 / 5 – Alright
Reviewed by Mr. Movie
Sex Tape is released through Sony Pictures Australia