Sex Tape

Directed by:  Jake Kasdan

Starring: Cameron Diaz, Jason Segal, Rob Corddry, Rob Lowe, and Ellie Kemper

Every summer, studios release comedies involving adults behaving badly in the hopes of attracting audiences looking for a little raunchy humor.  From Ted to We’re The Millers to Bad Teacher, raunchy comedies have become popular summer fare.  Hoping to capitalize on that trend, Sex Tape opens this weekend, and unfortunately, while somewhat salacious, it is decidedly not funny.

Annie (Cameron Diaz) and Jay (Jason Segal) met in college.  They had an intense whirlwind romance filled with passionate sex.  They hooked up in the library, on the campus lawn, in the car—pretty much everywhere.  After a short time, Annie became pregnant and she and Jay got married.  The relationship evolved over the years.  Jay now works for a radio station, and Annie is a stay at home mom who runs a blog for moms.  Unfortunately, Annie and Jay have grown apart. With two kids, work, and life, their passion has fizzled.

Annie is on the verge of selling her blog to a major company.  To celebrate Annie’s newfound success, Annie and Jay spend an adult night alone at home without the kids.  However, the easy passion that they once had is gone, and their kisses are awkward and forced.  In order to spice up the night, Annie suggests that they make a private home video on Jay’s new iPad.  They decide to try every position in The Joy of Sex book, and they film a three hour home movie.  Annie tells Jay to erase it.  

Jay does not erase the video.  To compound matters, because Jay works at a radio station, he is constantly buying iPads.  He has given his old iPads to family members, friends, etc.  Jay has an application on his iPad that syncs his video and music library with his new and old iPads.  So when Jay and Annie’s sex tape uploads, it is sent to Annie’s mom, their friends Tess (Ellie Kemper) and Robby (Rob Corddry), the mailman, and Hank (Rob Lowe), the head of the company purchasing Annie’s blog. The film follows Jay and Annie’s antics as they try to track down all of the iPads and copies of the video. 

While the premise of Sex Tape has potential, the film never delivers the expected laughs.  As an initial matter, almost every amusing scene is in the film’s trailer.  So if you have seen the trailer, you have seen everything worthwhile in the movie.  Moreover, the film’s dialogue is decidedly unfunny.  With two such talented comedic stars like Diaz and Segel, I expected so much more than a few isolated laughs. However, Diaz comes across as mean, but not in a funny way; and Segel just comes across as a bit of a bumbling, unfunny dope.   The script is all over the place.  The film veers from vulgar to slapstick to attempts at a serious analysis of the flaws in Annie and Jay’s relationship.  Jake Kasdan simply could not decide what he was going for with the film. 

I would be remiss without noting the blatant iPad promotion in Sex Tape. After I saw Mark Wahlberg crash his space jet into a truck full of Bud Light, and then take a swig of a cold beer in the latest Transformers movie, I thought that I had seen the ridiculous height of product promotion in film.  I was wrong.  Aside from the fact that the iPad is on the Sex Tape movie poster, the central plot of the film revolves around the iPad.  The characters record their home video on the iPad, commenting on its’ high resolution; one of the iPads is thrown out of a window, and Segel’s character is astounded by the remarkable durability of the iPad; and viewers are treated to demonstrations of some of the iPad’s features.  On top of that, YouPorn is fairly heavily promoted as the “go to” site for porn where thousands of videos are uploaded each day and readily available.  The products are obviously being shoved in our faces, and it is a bit of a turn off.

The most humorous scenes in Sex Tape are delivered by the supporting cast.  Rob Lowe’s seemingly straight-laced character is random and fun.  Lowe’s Hank puts me in the mind of the character he previously played on Parks and Recreation, except in the film Lowe is a drug-using Easy E fan.  Ellie Kemper (The Office and Bridesmaids) and Rob Corddry are also hilarious.  They steal every single scene that they grace, and in watching them onscreen, you realize that the film could have been so much more.

Sex Tape earns a wasted rating.  You will need kamikaze shots to make it through this film.