Director: Jake Kasdan
Starring: Jason Segel, Cameron Diaz, Rob Corddry
94 mins; Class 15;
KRS Releasing Ltd
The most remarkable thing about Sex Tape is how unsexy it is, apart from being completely unfunny, uninteresting and uninspired.
While watching it, I couldn’t shake the feeling that someone came up with the idea for the movie’s title (in and of itself lame, I mean, who refers to tapes anymore? Though I guess Sex Mp4 doesn’t quite have the same ring to it) and proceeded to fill the script with a series of gags about sexual positions, rabid dogs and obnoxious teenagers that are predictable and flat.
These are thinly-sketched characters attracting dull performances from all concerned.
Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz star as Jay and Annie, a married couple with two kids trying to recreate the passion they shared in bed when they first got together at college.
After various attempts fail, Annie gets the bright idea to try out every position in the book The Joy of Sex and to video themselves doing it. It’s not long before said video goes viral and the couple resort to desperate measures to get it back.
The film opens with Diaz giving us an extended introductory voice-over, recounting the voracious sexual appetite Annie and Jay shared when they first met. This part is illustrated by myriad scenes of them at it everywhere and all the time.
Thinly-sketched characters attracting dull performances
That point made, she finally launches into an explanation as to why that appetite has been blunted (pregnancy, marriage and children), leading to the nub of the story as Jay and Annie get together to try to analyse what went wrong.
Well, what is certainly wrong is, to put it bluntly, that Segel and Diaz surprisingly share little chemistry and are both simply going through the motions, hampered by a script that has zero original ideas.
You may recall that one of the comedies that made Diaz’s name was 1998’s seminal There’s Something About Mary, but the actress can’t capture that zany humour, and she simply tries too hard to inject some life into her character.
The usually affable Segel also suffers and seems completely uninspired by the material… which he co-wrote, incidentally, with Kate Angelo and Nicholas Stoller.
In fact, I find it hard to believe that Segel and Stoller could come up with something so lame, especially considering they wrote the excellent revival of The Muppets (2011) – a film chock-full of brilliant gags and The Five-Year Engagement (2012), one of the better rom-coms to hit the screen of late.
The film-makers try to spice things up with a couple of cameos. Rob Lowe is an inspired bit of casting, given the actor’s own personal history with a sex tape, but his extended scene is another aspect of the film that shoots blanks.
Jack Black raises an initial smile as the owner of internet site You Porn but his scene, like many that have gone before, stretches a one-note joke as he rattles off the pun-riddled names of rival port sites to breaking point.
As for the sex side of things – there is a notable dearth of sexual humour and innu-endo and it never quite reaches the naughtiness one would expect.
Despite quite a bit of nudity, it is all treated rather tamely and when we finally get to see glimpses of this infamous tape, it is all very puerile, resulting in a sex tape that is embarrassing not just for the characters, but the actors playing them.
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