SEX TAPE Review

by     Posted 154 days ago

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One would think that a movie entitled “Sex Tape” wouldn’t have a problem being raunchy.  Sadly, director Jake Kasdan‘s latest picture can’t seem to find the balance between a sweet relationship and salty dialogue, and mostly goes with the former at the expense of the latter.  Even more baffling is why the movie constantly feels the need to justify its premise as it reiterates plot points, character decisions, and the technological chicanery involved in the story’s inciting event.  There’s always more emphasis on explaining what’s going on instead of going all the way.

In a belabored fit of exposition, mommy blogger Annie (Cameron Diaz) explains to her readers (and us) that she and her husband Jay (Jason Segel) used to have sex all the time, but they no longer have the time because of the demands of work and family.  Looking to rekindle the spark in their marriage, Annie and Jay decide to use an iPad to record themselves having sex.  However, the iPad has an app that syncs its files to other devices including the old iPads Jay gave away as gifts.  When the couple discovers what’s happened, they make a mad dash to recover the iPads before they’re seen by family, friends Robby (Rob Corddry) and Tess (Ellie Kemper), and Piper Bros. CEO Hank (Rob Lowe), who is considering buying Annie’s blog for his wholesome company.

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Kasdan has never shied away from coarse humor in his previous features, and it’s surprising that he chooses to do so here.  There’s not a single line in Sex Tape that’s as delightfully foul-mouthed as Cameron Diaz’ line from Bad Teacher where she confidently strides into a room and tells her fiancée, “I’m going to suck your dick like I’m mad at it.”  If anything, Sex Tape seems to have been softened considerably in the editing room.  In one of the red-band trailers, Annie tells Jay, “This is our friends and family watching me teabag the shit out of your balls for half an hour!”  That line isn’t in the movie.  Instead, we get Annie telling Jay, “I love fucking you,” and him replying, “I fucking love you.”  It’s nice, but Sex Tape proves that the impact of the word “fuck” has greatly diminished over the years.

If Sex Tape were a bit more daring in its dialogue and jokes, it would make the extended scenes more manageable.  A large chunk of the film is devoted to Annie trying to distract Hank while Jay searches Hank’s house, but instead has to spend the entire time running from Hank’s dog.  Slapstick is fine for a while, but the best jokes in the sequence are sight gags of the odd paintings in Hank’s house.  It’s like they came out of a weirder, funnier movie.

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But Sex Tape is usually shying away from these opportunities.  Lowe is fine as Hank, but I couldn’t help but wonder if the role would be funnier if played by someone who truly has a wholesome image rather than just giving Lowe a nice hairstyle and glasses.  And in retrospect, I wonder if Lowe was cast because he had a sex tape that leaked in late 1980s, but the movie never references the scandal, and I imagine that audience members in their 20s probably wouldn’t know about it anyway.

The movie is always playing it safe to an extent that’s downright bizarre.  Diaz and Segel keep the film cute and get little chuckles along the way, but the script is always passing by obvious moments where Sex Tape could get really fun and creative.  At one point, a character provides a litany of porn websites, which seems like a great chance to go wild with ridiculous names.  Instead, we get actual porn sites like “YouPorn” and “RedTube”, so it comes off like a marketing tie-in.  It’s a unique marketing opportunity, but did anyone think that plugging a bunch of porn sites was comedy gold?

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There’s almost something quaint in Sex Tape in how it thinks it’s being aggressive in its comedy.  Even the title is a misnomer since it’s actually a video file rather than a “tape”.  Perhaps in a different time and under different circumstance, Sex Tape would feel cutting edge in its comedy.  Unfortunately, all we have is a dull and flavorless story about a couple trying to add some spice to their cutesy relationship.

Rating: C-

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  • Bobby

    If this movie had came out in the 90′s or even 2000′s they wouldn’t be able to call it Sex Tape.

  • Bobby

    If this movie had came out in the 90′s or even 2000′s they wouldn’t be able to call it Sex Tape.

    • Norrtron

      Well they released a movie called Sex Drive in 2008 so I don’t know about that.

      • The Judge

        Sex Drive was hilarious. It’s a bummer that it didn’t get more attention.

    • lord jim

      so “”Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask” never happened?
      there were more tits in seventies mainstream movies than today, society hasn´t been this conservative and prude since the fifties.

    • Kpaqu1

      Zack and Miri Make a Porno was out in 2008.

    • Kpaqu1

      Zack and Miri Make a Porno was out in 2008.

      • Sal

        I think he meant it because the term sex tape came around 2006 when several celebrities had sex tapes leaked and a certain woman became famous due to hers…

      • Sal

        I think he meant it because the term sex tape came around 2006 when several celebrities had sex tapes leaked and a certain woman became famous due to hers…

      • Kpaqu1

        Pretty sure the term sex tape came about when video tape started being used. I remember it in the 1980s.

      • Sal

        I think he meant it because the term sex tape came around 2006 when several celebrities had sex tapes leaked and a certain woman became famous due to hers…

  • Jeremy Flores

    Matt, I still can’t believe this was one of your most anticipated films of the summer.

    • http://collider.com Matt Goldberg

      Not “of the summer”. Of July to September when the summer movies start to get thin and the fall season hasn’t really heated up yet. Plus, keep in mind that I’ve seen most of the indies already.

  • rp

    But is it true that Diaz is full frontal and “shows everything” as she’s claimed in interviews? That’s all I really want to know.

    • http://collider.com Matt Goldberg

      Nope. You can kind of see through her T-shirt at one point. Honestly, you see more of Jason Segel’s ballsack.

  • http://tarek-to-verso.over-blog.com/ tarek

    “the iPad has an app that syncs its files to other devices”
    How come ? Who developed this dumb app ?
    No way you could sync two devices without approving the operation on both sides.

    • http://collider.com Matt Goldberg

      I didn’t want to get too technical in my synopsis, but the idea is that they’re iPads he used to store music because he’s a music producer or technician of something. Anyway, he likes sharing playlists with people, so he’s kept them synced even though he’s given them away.

      • http://tarek-to-verso.over-blog.com/ tarek

        Ok. So the iPads he is tracking down were his ? Could make sense…

      • http://collider.com Matt Goldberg

        Yes, but he’s apparently never heard of Last.fm or Spotify or any number of playlist-sharing sites and services.

      • http://collider.com Matt Goldberg

        Yes, but he’s apparently never heard of Last.fm or Spotify or any number of playlist-sharing sites and services.

      • http://tarek-to-verso.over-blog.com/ tarek

        that’s an unpardonable sin for a music technician / producer

      • http://tarek-to-verso.over-blog.com/ tarek

        Ok. So the iPads he is tracking down were his ? Could make sense…

  • Doug_101

    This was the worst movie I’ve seen this year. It’s a boring, unfunny piece of crap. If the characters aren’t constantly rehashing the premise and previous scenes for the audience, they’re over – explaining the painfully unfunny jokes. It was like Diaz and Segel were in two completely different films and neither was any good. Rating: F

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