Director: Jake Kasdan
Cast: Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Ellie Kemper, Rob Corddry, Rob Lowe
Classification: MA15+ (Strong Sex Scenes, Sexual References, Coarse Language and Drug Use)
FOR a film with such a raunchy concept, it’s ironic that ‘Sex Tape’ is distinctly lacking in that factor.
It’s a film that wraps its R rated concept in a more PG mentality, and as much as it goes out of its way to be smutty and dirty-minded, it can’t help but feel like a project that’s more talk than action. A lesser film than director Jake Kasdan’s last reunion with stars Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel, 2011’s ‘Bad Teacher’, ‘Sex Tape’ manages to get by on the chemistry and appeal of its leads, and the fact that both Diaz and Segel appear game for whatever ridiculous scenario the script conjures up.
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After an opening montage solidifying the film’s mature rating with the various sexual trysts Jay (Segel) and Annie (Diaz) shared in the earlier stages of their relationship, we fast forward 10 years of marriage and 2 kids later to where the still-loved-up-but-sexually-lacking couple have to schedule their sex life around their children’s activities, Jay’s radio producer gig and Annie’s mum blog which is on the verge of being bought out by a major company with strong family values. On the one night they manage to be alone and attempt sex, Jay’s manhood fails and it’s Annie’s suggestion of filming themselves having sex whilst performing all acts from the manual ‘The Joys of Sex’ that relights the fire and sets into motion a sitcom-style night of antics. Given that, for whatever reason co-writer Segel deemed necessary, nearly every male character in this movie is an imbecile, Jay forgets that filming the deed on his iPad will automatically sync the video to all the other devices he owns – only problem is all the other devices he owns have been given to family, friends and colleagues as gifts.
It’s a one-joke movie, and completely preposterous to say the least (the carefree attitude at which iPad’s are handed out is a prime example) but if you’re thinking that carefully about what’s unfolding on screen, you’re watching the wrong movie. ‘Sex Tape’ is hoping that Diaz and Segel will be enough for the audience to stick with the proceedings and, for the most part, they are as the few amusing sequences that are offered up as Annie and Jay attempt to reclaim the iPads are made more enjoyable through their banter. There is a slight oddness to their scenes though as the camera seems to linger a beat too long hoping to wring one final expression from either star for the sake of a laugh, and as up to the challenge both Segel and Diaz are, this is far from being worthy of their comedic talents – although actors without their timing and gamesmanship would’ve sent this movie into a downward spiral fast.
If there’s one ingredient ‘Sex Tape’ gets correct however it’s the unlikely casting of Rob Lowe. Involved in the film’s liveliest segment as Annie’s potential employer (he too has been sent an iPad, naturally) Lowe, clearly winking at his own sex-tape scandal past and the infamous 1989 Academy Award opening number with Snow White, is simply brilliant as a seemingly prissy family man who lets loose with illegal substances when he’s left on his own. A performance that is equally subtle, cracked and very, very funny, it’s a shame that the film opted to make him a mere pitstop as he most likely would’ve kept the dwindling minutes that follow alive and kicking.
My rating: 2.5/5