Director: Jake Kasdan
Stars: Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Rob Lowe, Rob Corddry, Ellie Kemper
Jay (Segel) and Annie (Diaz) used to be fuelled by sex but after they got married something happened. They began to settle into a routine and lost the spark that they once used to cherish. In order to re-ignite the fire they decide to make a sex tape, but due to a misunderstanding of technology it gets uploaded to the cloud, and they soon realize that all their family and friends have access to it. A chase begins to retrieve the iPads and delete the video before anyone can watch it!
So, when I saw the trailer for Sex Tape I wasn’t too enthused but I thought I’d give it a chance because I like the two leads. However, it’s a dull piece of rubbish that has barely any redeeming features.
We’re supposed to believe that Jay has a job where he gets free iPads at every new release, and has enough spares to hand them out to friends, family, and the mailman when he’s done with them. Yet he doesn’t understand the cloud properly? The mishap was blamed on a new app, but it still seemed contrived. There were a few other contrivances as well that moved the plot along, and in a funny film I would have been willing to overlook these but when the laughs are few you’re left noticing the weak structure of the film.
Cameron Diaz sparkles as usual but Segel’s character doesn’t quite work, and I’m not sure whether it was the script or whether it was Segel himself (either way the blame lies with him since he has a writing credit). I quite liked their relationship early on but they quickly descend into a typical bickering couple and it’s something we’ve seen a million times before. The jokes are tired and they’re not done with any heart or effort. It’s like the writers just threw a bunch of absurd, shocking stuff, threw in some references to modern technology and expect the audience to roar with laughter. It doesn’t work like that. I like to think that people are smart enough to know when there’s a half-assed attempt at humour on the screen and this is it. There’s no wit here, no craft, and it just feels flat. In fact, the funny moments are mostly confined to Rob Lowe’s character’s Disney obsession.
It doesn’t help that the story is oddly structured. At first they have to delete the sex tape because it threatens Annie’s prospects, as her blog about mothering is being considered by a wholesome company. So they awkwardly find their way to her potential boss’ house and try to find his iPad, but then that quest is resolved and dropped, and by the end of the film we still don’t even know whether she actually got offered the job. After this plot is abandoned it becomes about stopping the sex tape before their children graduate (speaking of which, do schools really have graduation ceremonies for 4th and 5th grades? I mean, seriously? That’s ridiculous). This is also resolved conveniently, with the perpetrator giving reasons that come out of nowhere and have not been foreshadowed at all. Also, I noticed that a shot in the trailer is different in the film and it makes the final version very strange as there was no reason for Jay to make a certain move that he did.
Also, at the very end we actually get a glimpse at some shots of the tape (which, by the way, is a misnomer. I know it’s probably ingrained in our minds to talk about tapes but since they made it on an iPad it was recorded. I know the phrase is part of our lexicon and I’m only mentioning it because the film is bad enough that I’m going to be as critical as I can be). Anyway, so the shots they show aren’t even possible with an iPad, using multi-camera angles that would only have happened if someone was there to move the iPad. It’s just emblematic of the lack of effort put into this film.
Overall, it’s a lazy, flat, boring film that offers nothing new. It attempts to throw a few absurd moments at the audience without any rhyme or reason, and seems to rely on the promise of the premise to carry it through. This is one to avoid at all costs.