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Movie review: ‘Sex Tape’

Sex Tape

* * 

Director: Jake Kasdan

Cast: Jason Segel, Cameron Diaz

Rated: R (strong sexual content, nudity, strong language, some drug use)

Running time: 94 min.


Posted 6:15pm on Monday, Jul. 21, 2014

It must have sounded sidesplitting on paper.

There would be Jason Segel doing his goofy-guy-with-a-heart-of-gold thing, Cameron Diaz (sort of) in Bad Teacher/There’s Something About Mary mode, and a Noah’s flood worth of comedic co-stars like Rob Corddry, Jack Black, Rob Lowe, Ellie Kemper, and Nat Faxon.

Throw in a director, Jake Kasdan, known for Bad Teacher and being part of the team that worked on the cult TV show Freaks and Geeks, a script co-written by Segel with Nicholas Stoller ( Muppets Most Wanted, The Five-Year Engagement), and a buzz-worthy name — heck, it will even have the word “sex” in the title — and that’s one Hollywood lunch that probably ended with high-fives all around.

Too bad then that the resulting movie, Sex Tape, is about as funny as a funeral.

It’s not for lack of trying. Segel and Diaz give it their all — and pretty much show their all, too — but enthusiasm alone isn’t enough when the writing is as lazy as Homer Simpson at a hammock factory.

Sex Tape starts off with Annie (Diaz) writing her mommy blog about remembering when she and hubbie Jay (Segel), before kids came along, would have sex anywhere and everywhere. (You know the movie is seriously out of touch when the flashback of Annie and Jay, presumably not that many years ago since their oldest is only in fourth grade, are shown exchanging mix-tape cassettes. What year is this supposed to be? 1985?)

In order to spice things up, they decide to make their own porn using one of Jay’s many iPads. In fact, he has so many iPads that he doles them out as gifts to friends and even the mailman. (Really? Who does this? Obviously, I’m on the wrong Christmas list.)

Annie asks him to delete the movie but Jay unwittingly ends up uploading it to that pesky little thing known as the cloud. So, everyone who has one of his iPads ends up getting another nice little gift from Jay, this one involving Jay and Annie in their birthday suits doing all sorts of athletic stunts inspired by their old copy of The Joy of Sex. And, one of their “friends” who has seen the film is taunting them with text messages and even threatens to load the whole thing onto a YouTube-like porn site.

So, Jay and Annie are on a mission to get all the iPads back.

Çomedy doesn’t necessarily have to be plausible to be funny, and Sex Tape could have used the premise as a launch pad for a wry, ribald look at relationships or at least as an excuse for some riotous physical humor. Yet there’s little of either. Most of it is either labored to the point of exhaustion (Jay being chased around a house by a vicious dog) or not that humorous in the first place. It’s not even tasteless enough to be obnoxiously memorable. Everything about it is pedestrian.

There are a few chuckle-worthy moments: Lowe as the uptight CEO of the company that wants to buy Annie’s blog — who turns out to be not so uptight after all; and Harrison Holzer as the two-faced son of their friends (the friends are played by Corddry and Kemper).

But it’s too little, too late in a movie that, while only 94 minutes, feels too long.

The real sex tape that Jay and Annie are chasing all over town might have at least had some instructive value. The movie Sex Tape that Jason and Cameron have made can’t even make that claim.

Cary Darling, 817 390-7571

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