With previous feature films including Orange Country and Bad Teacher under his belt, Director Jake Kasdan has delivered another comedy to his growing portfolio and has enlisted the help of Bad Teacher lead Cameron Diaz and How I Met Your Mother star Jason Segal to take his latest effort toward hopeful box office glory.
Sex Tape begins with Annie (Cameron Diaz) narrating us through her college years; sex-driven teen who is not only in love with her partner Jay (Jason Segal) but is rampantly and spontaneously sexual with him. The film starts off on some good footing with several memorable scenes of Annie and Jay experimenting with each other’s bodies, in settings like their college dorm, a parked car and a quiet library before pulling us into modern day where Annie is writing an article for her popular ‘mommy’ blog which holds the interest of a potential buyer (Rob Lowe).
With the years taking its toll on the once sexually rampant couple with careers and the addition of a son and daughter taking priority, Annie and Jay have hit a block in their quest for the sex that they once used to enjoy. When Annie suggests that they spice things up in the bedroom by filming themselves on Jay’s brand new iPad, events start to unravel. With the help of a copy of The Joy Of Sex, the couple set off to film themselves re-enacting each position within the book. It isn’t until Jay forgets to delete the video at Annie’s request that things really take a turn for the worst. Thanks to the ‘cloud’, the couple’s video is synced to several other iPads that Jay has given to friends and family members and the night turns into an expedition to collect each of the iPads back and to delete all traces of the video. What the couple don’t expect however, is a number of challenges along the way including a cocaine addicted boss, an aggressive German Sheppard, an overly keen couple of friends who are determined to see the video and join in on the quest to collect the gadgets and an X-rated website owner (Jack Black).
Now, the story sounds interesting enough, right? Unfortunately that’s where you are mistaken. Sex Tape misses the mark on almost every attempt to come across as a fun and credible comedy staple despite its stellar cast, led by Diaz and Segal. Most of the jokes within the 90 minute feature feel forced and rushed by both leads as well as the several notable cast members that are dotted within the film including The Offices Ellie Kemper and Rob Lowe, whose entire on-screen performance as Alice’s less than clean-cut boss, Hank is unconvincing and cringy-worthy. While comedy is often exaggerated in order to spark a laugh within us, Sex Tape takes this to a level that didn’t suit its fairly blatant pursuit to be taken semi-seriously within the comedy genre. The dialogue of the film felt more like incomplete and underwhelming improvisation than a structured script delivered by two very talented and seasoned actors.
The film was also littered with far too many discrepancies to make for a genuine laugh-fest; Annie getting completely wasted on cocaine during an awkward visit to her bosses house but being completely sober with no trace of having taking a heavy dose of the drug 5 minutes after the scene ends; the personal vendetta held against Jay by his best friends son who sets out to ruin Jay and Annie by bribing them for $25,000 left completely unexamined; the unnecessary scene where Annie and Jay take their ‘clearly old enough to understand’ kids to the YouPorn headquarters to “play a game of breaking and entering” before meeting the websites owner (Jack Black) for a drawn out showdown that quickly transforms into an awkward ‘morale’ moment are a few notable examples that pull this film down.
The opening and closing scenes of the film are its only redeeming features as we are taken through several laugh-out-loud scenes showing the pair getting down and dirty in college, with the help of some impressive makeup to disguise both Diaz and Segal as convincing college students, and the closing scenes showing us some of the events from within the sex tape. Unfortunately these sparse highlights are too few and far between and leave Sex Tape a film that I would, if I were its director, rewind and erase very quickly.
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