Director: Jake Kasdan
Cast: Jason Segel, Cameron Diaz, Jack Black, Rob Lowe, Ellie Kemper, Rob Corddry
RunTime: 1 hr 30 mins
Rating: R21 (Sexual Scenes)
Released By: Sony Pictures Releasing International
Opening Day: 7 August 2014
Synopsis: When Jay (Jason Segel) and Annie (Cameron Diaz) first got together, their romantic connection was intense – but ten years and two kids later, the flame of their love needs a spark. To kick things up a notch, they decide – why not? – to make a video of themselves trying out every position in The Joy of Sex in one marathon three-hour session. It seems like a great idea – until they discover that their most private video is no longer private. With their reputations on the line, they know they’re just one click away from being laid bare to the world... but as their race to reclaim their video leads to a night they'll never forget, they'll find that their video will expose even more than they bargained for.
Sex and humour. Sex Tape sounded like it had potential to be sexy and funny, or at least one of the above. However, it falls short of both, though that is not due to the lack of trying.
As the Jay (Jason Segel) and Annie’s (Cameron Diaz) sex tape is inadvertently is synced to the numerous iPads Jay (Jason Segel) gives away, the couple go to great lengths trying to recover them. Their journey of trying to recover the iPads took up way too long of the film, and this is one of the reasons why the film is so hard to watch. There is only that much slapstick humour one can take, and 90 minutes of it is very much above quota. Much of this humour comes from Segel’s portrayal of Jay – a large, sweet man, who comes across as a tad simple-minded. Which is, I suspect, the character Segel has been typecasted into due to his role of Marshall Eriksen from How I Met Your Mother.
The same typecasting befell on Diaz – the blond, not-too-intelligent bombshell, making her bear the blunt of the blonde bimbo jokes. This stereotype, however, was weakly overthrown when Annie was revealed to be intelligent, and more tech-savvy than Jay. For most of the film, however, it felt like Diaz was simply there to draw male audiences. The thinly veiled objectification was also off-putting to some audiences.
Other than the sex, technology was probably central to the film. Without auto-syncing and cloud storage capabilities of devices, the film would probably not have been made. It might be a long stretch, but the film can be seen as satire on current society and technology – how users do not totally understand it, but yet are so dependent on it. That impression lasts until the Siri joke, when any attempt of the film to sound vaguely intelligent is somewhat discarded.
Perhaps the only highlight of the movie, or rather what was easier to sit through, were the parts on Jay and Annie’s friends, Robbie (Rob Corddry), Tess (Ellie Kemper) and their son, Howard. Robbie and Tess portray the suburban, bored, married couple to a T, whose idea of an anniversary celebration was to catch up on old TV series without their children. Unexpectedly, Howard (Harrison Holzer) arguably performed best in the film. Playing the largest villain of the show, he outwits Jay with his deviousness and cunning. That said, his abrupt change of character comes as across as awkward, and seems to be used as a way to end the film.
Jack Black plays the owner of YouPorn, the porn website which Jay and Annie’s sex tape nearly gets uploaded onto. Black, being Black, is naturally funny, and it is a pity that his character comes out late in the film, and for such a short time. His character then takes a 180-degree turn to lecturing them about love and sex, making it extremely hard to believe. Similar to Howard, this change comes across as forced, and feels like it took place only because the film needed a turning point and morally upright message after all the nudity and drugs.
Sex Tape attempts to include all the elements of a successful rom-com – romance (or sex, in this case), humour and a popular pair of lead actor and actress. However, the movie is let down by the one-dimensional characters and unimaginative script, which earns more cringes than kudos.
(The Sex Tape's tasteless portrayal of sex, and tired humour makes the movie painful and awkward to watch)
Review by Goh Yan Hui