By Gary Murray
Starring Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Rob Coddry and Ellie Kemper
Written by Kate Angelo, Jason Segel and Nicholas Stroller
Directed by Jake Kasdan
Running time 94 min
MPAA Rating R (should be NC-17)
Selig Film Rating: Forget it!
Comedy is hard. Being funny is such a subjective experience. Where someone will think a certain bit is hilarious, another will think it is repulsive. More and more, comedy has gone from clever to crude. Looking back at the history of comedy movies, it seems that the rich well of witty humor has come to a murky, muddy bottom. There is no better example of crude comedy than Sex Tape.
Cameron Diaz plays Annie and Jason Segel plays Jay. When we meet them, she is writing on her blog that becomes the preamble of the tale. We see the two meet and have college sex again and again. These two cannot keep their hands off each others genitals. They hook up all the time and everywhere. Eventually the two get married and start the ascension into adulthood.
We move forward a few years and a few kids. Annie and Jay are stuck in a rut. She is about to sell her blog to a giant family company Piper Brothers owned by Hank (Rob Lowe).
Jay works in the music industry and gets new I-Pads all the time. He then gives all the extra I-Pads to friends and family. This hard to believe hook is the lynchpin of the screenplay.
Well, to spice up their love-life, the two decide to make a sex tape by going through the entire sex manual The Joy of Sex at one time using the I-Pad’s camera feature. After a few shots of liquid courage, the two do the dirty deed multiple times and multiple positions.
The next day after sobering up, Annie insists that Jay delete the file. Instead, he accidentally syncs it to all the other I-Pads he owned. They had been given to such unsuspecting recipients as the mailman, future boss Hank and their friends Robby (Rob Coddry) and Tess (Ellie Kemper). Then someone contacts Jay and makes reference to the sex tape. Their secret is out to someone.
The film becomes a hunt down for all the I-Pads before the sex tape gets leaked onto the internet. Along the way there is much sex, profanity and drug use.
Sex Tape is one of the foulest films of 2014. There is almost no redeeming value within the framework of the screenplay. All it comes down to is a series of ‘F-bombs’ that drop the intensity of the blitz on London. There is a big difference between using profanity for a punch and profanity as a crutch.
The writing team behind Sex Tape has very few actual jokes so they resort to cuss word after cuss word, hoping the shock value will propel the hilarity. It does not and becomes an embarrassment after awhile. The film wears out its welcome at the speed of light.
At times one almost becomes embarrassed for the cast that has to spill this filth all over the screen. Rob Coddry is a funny guy but he looks pained about delivering his lines. The charming Ellie Kemper looks embarrassed by this display of guttural language. Her appeal is lost in the world of Sex Tape.
While most would place the entire blame on director Jake Kasdan, the man behind The Dewey Cox Story and Bad Teacher, the true blame needs to go to Jason Segel. The television actor/writer has been trying to break into the mainstream with Forgetting Sarah Marshall and The Muppets. He was brilliant in I Love You, Man. Here, he just seems lost within the confines of the screenplay, playing the doting moronic dad. Eventually it becomes a bad parody of Homer on The Simpson’s.
Cameron Diaz is slowing becoming a sad version of her former glory. While she was perfect in There’s Something about Mary that was 25 years ago. Her charming girl-next-door charms are fading into middle age and only her Shrek voiceovers are a claim to success.
The only single element of Sex Tape that is positive is the dynamic between the two leads. The idea of a married couple still passionate after many years is endearing. It is a rarity to see a married couple not straying but still mad about each other.
To put it bluntly, Sex Tape is a total waste of time and energy with all the good bits in the trailer. If you have seen the trailer, you have seen the movie. The only people who will flock to this film are the ones who live at Mr. Skin and want to see a naked Cameron Diaz. Those people will surely not be disappointed.