Sex Tape (2014)
Editor’s Notes: Sex Tape opens in wide release today, July 18th.
Has there ever been a movie with prominent product placement for a porn website? Sex Tape certainly has it and plenty other glaring moments that feel packaged. Sex Tape stars two famous, marketable leads following a quirky, exciting premise that maintains the successful raunchiness of their previous collaboration, Bad Teacher, with director Jake Kasdan. One merely needs to tie the bow on top of this spiritual sequel to Bad Teacher and its all ready for mainstream consumption.
Sex Tape stars two famous, marketable leads following a quirky, exciting premise that maintains the successful raunchiness of their previous collaboration, Bad Teacher …
Sex Tape follows Annie (Cameron Diaz) and Jay (Jason Segel), a married couple whose sex life is stagnating. To try and get their sex life back on track, Annie and Jay decide to make a sex tape (with their iPad which has great video quality and is name-checked over and over again, and is prominently featured in the poster for the film; and did I mention it’s an iPad that can record high quality video?). Because of a mix-up with automatic uploading to the cloud, the video gets out to friends and family connected to Jay’s cloud network. They spend the rest of the film resolving their relationship issues while chasing after the missing tablets with their sex tape downloaded.
The reasons why Annie and Jay aren’t having sex crisply follow every expected response in the book, such as the pressures of raising children and the aging of their bodies. It’s not that these aren’t accurate or realistic reasons but rather their portrayal in Sex Tape feels false. The best example of the film’s overall plasticity is an immediately obvious hypocrisy. Sex Tape is about a woman who is mortified about her naked image getting out on the internet. Her body is supposedly aging to the point that her husband isn’t attracted to her. Cameron Diaz, an actress famous for her sexuality, plays this woman and the role requires at least a handful of moments of nudity. Her sexuality is being used to sell movie tickets. This movie is literally using taped sequences of her naked body to sell tickets. It’s not that such hypocrisy can’t be overcome but a movie with such average character writing definitely can’t transcend the inherent inauthenticity. Diaz comes across as herself playing a role in a skit, not a real person. This is not her fault but writing that doesn’t properly explore the themes it alludes to.
While the character portrayals are below average, Diaz and Segel are plenty enjoyable as their typical personas. Diaz is magnetic and quite funny, and Segel is charming and funny.
While the character portrayals are below average, Diaz and Segel are plenty enjoyable as their typical personas. Diaz is magnetic and quite funny, and Segel is charming and funny. The supporting performances alongside them are decent enough. Rob Corddry and Ellie Kemper adequately entertain as Annie and Jay’s best friends who aid our leads in their search for the missing tablets. Rob Lowe is fine as a silly over-the-top businessman, although he’s the weakest of the bunch in terms of laughs and believability.
Overall, Sex Tape is not a good movie but it’s also not particularly bad. It’s a perfectly average Hollywood romantic comedy. It is legitimately funny in parts, and never offends, other than the over-use of product placement in some instances. It would be easier to enjoy if the film didn’t take itself so seriously. It almost feels like a joke near the end when the film has “heartfelt” conclusions about Annie and Jay’s emotional journey as a couple. Nevertheless, Sex Tape is a somewhat fun comedy that will do it’s job for many viewers; entertain.
Sex Tape is not a good movie, but it's also not particularly bad. It's a perfectly average Hollywood romantic comedy that’s legitimately funny in parts and never offends, other than some glaring product placement.