Review: Sex Tape

Directed by: Jake Kasdan
Written by: Kate Angelo, Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Rob Corddry, Ellie Kemper, Rob Lowe, Nat Faxon
Released: July 17, 2014
Grade: C+

Sex Tape
There’s not much happening in the opening half-hour of Sex Tape.  It’s just a long winded explanation of why they decided to make the video in the first place.  Annie (Diaz) and Jay (Segel) were once a blissful couple who had sex at any opportunity in just about every location – the bedroom, the living room, the college grounds, a public library, and so on.

Then, they got married and had two kids.  They’re not filing for divorce any time soon… but you sense they’re a little frustrated by their dwindling sex life.  They just can’t find the time any more.  That is until one particular evening where they find a babysitter, have a few alcoholic beverages, and then retire to the bedroom.  Looking to spice things up a little, Jay gets out his brand new iPad and films the full three hour session.

The film’s second act is far more entertaining.  It’s a chance to actually have a laugh.  The video is accidentally uploaded to a series of iPads that Jay had given to his family and friends.  It gets worse though.  Annie’s new boss (Lowe) is also in possession of a synced iPad and given she’s about to become the spokesperson for a family-friendly toy company, it could very well be career threatening.

It sends both Jay and Annie, helped by two curious friends, on a goose chase across the city to track down all the iPads and delete the video before it’s too late.  Many of the jokes are overdone – highlighted by Jay’s encounter with a dog and later, the family’s introduction to the owner of a porn site – but there were a few surprising moments that left me chuckling out loud.

The film is only 94 minutes long but it still feels heavily padded.  The lengthy introduction and drawn out jokes are proof of that.  Perhaps it’s just a poorly written script.  Perhaps it’s just too hard to make a full length feature out of such a narrow premise.  When you compare it to the best of this year’s big-budget comedies, Bad Neighbours, you realise this isn’t up to scratch.

Things fall away again at the end with a strange conclusion that tries to ask deeper questions such as why people make sex tapes.  It doesn’t fit.  This needed to be a straight out comedy all the way.  There’s no need to take a soft moral high ground.  There’s no need to make me feel sorry for a bunch of characters I couldn’t care less about.

You get the sense the only reason this project got off the ground is because of the two leading actors – Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz.  Their popularity, couple with the catchy title, should be enough to get bums on seats when the film is released simultaneously in Australia and the United States this weekend.  There’s a little nudity to justify the MA rating but it’s not as raunchy as you might expect.