Sex Tape (Jake Kasdan, 2014)
With a title like that, what could possibly go wrong? Other than everything. Most people assumed Sex Tape would be pretty terrible on the premise alone, but I was willing to give it a chance (and I’d won free tickets). It had a good cast, was co-written by my favourite funny man, Jason Segel, and I’d assumed the whole in-your-face nature of the title and the movie poster was deliberately tongue-in-cheek. My friend expected it to be bad and remarked that the trailers before the film might end up being the best part. She was mostly wrong in this respect because the first three trailers were for Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie (yes that is actually the title), The Inbetweeners 2 (that trailer = wow), and Hercules (Zzzz). As it turns out, they were a pretty good indication of the shittiness that was about to come.
The awful premise is this: to spice up their sex life, Jay (Jason Segel) and Annie (Cameron Diaz) use Jay’s iPad to film themselves trying every position in The Joy of Sex. Jay then realises that he’s accidentally synced the video with all of his devices, which includes various iPads that he’s given their friends, colleagues, and mailman. The explanation for why they’ve given all of these people iPads made no sense and the whole approach to technology was surprisingly so out of date. Joe Swanberg explains these problems in detail here (Spoilers I guess but meh). The whole “nobody understands the cloud!” thing made me smile but sometimes it seemed like this couple had as much understanding of technology as my grandparents.
Sex Tape definitely wasn’t as funny as it could have been. There were a few jokes that were on the brink of hilarity but they somehow just missed the mark. It may have been because I was in a relatively empty cinema, but the awkward silences when we were obviously supposed to laugh made me feel bad for everyone involved. I expected more from a film with Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller as co-writers (I LOVED The Five Year Engagement, The Muppets and Get Him to the Greek) but I don’t think it was their fault. I’m going to place the bulk of the blame on Kate Angelo as she was billed as first writer and it was her who came up with the shitty storyline. Stick as a pair, boys. The few funny lines usually came out of Segel’s mouth or sounded like his writing, so I’m still a fan of his.
Sex Tape was just like one of those mediocre boob flicks that usually go straight to DVD in Australia. Except that it actually did get a cinematic release here and a whole lot of fanfare to go with it. WHY?! WHY did you get my hopes up that this would be a clever critique of our sex-obsessed society? WHY did you tempt me with Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz? That completely messed with my expectations. With a no-name cast you could easily anticipate the mediocrity, but Cam and Jase lull us into a false sense of security. Thankfully, they were decent in it, which raises this just a notch above American Pie Presents the Naked Mile. They are supported by lesser known but talented Ellie Kempler (Bridesmaids) and Rob Corddry (Hot Tub Time Machine), as well as Rob Lowe (star of his very own sex tape back in the 80s – oh snap!). The performances were fine – the problem was the material they had to work with.
It’s probably no surprise that there is a lot of sexing in Sex Tape, and it’s mostly pretty awkward to watch. Especially when Annie tries (and fails) multiple times to somersault through the air and land on Jay’s you-know-what. I’m not even kidding. THIS IS WHAT WE’RE DEALING WITH! There is also an early montage of their early sexcapades in college where some weird-ass effects/make-up actually almost succeeds in making the two of them look 20 years old (and for some reason gives Cameron Diaz a bad nose job). The film tries to link in some romance amidst the awkward sex but it fails. IT FAILS ABYSMALLY. It’s not the worst film I’ve seen this year, but it’s pretty crappola. The only people who will enjoy this are the pervs who want to see Cameron in the buff. But let’s be honest – they may as well just wait for DVD.