Starring: Jason Segel, Cameron Diaz, Rob Corddry
Jay (Segel) and Annie (Diaz) have found that married life and having children has taken the passion out of their marriage, and so to spice up their love life they decide to take advantage of the one night their children are away by making a sex tape. Jay’s job means he is constantly being given new iPads, and so as a gift Jay and Annie give out Jay’s old iPads to their friends and neighbours, but unknowingly to them each contains a copy of their sex tape. Now the two of them face a race against time to get their iPads back and save their dignity. Oh, and of course all sort of hilarity ensues!
In some ways it is a shame that I have already posted my worst films of 2014 list, because Sex Tape would have most definitely appeared in that list. The whole notion of comedy first, premise/narrative second or not at all is fine if the comedy is quite funny, (it certainly has not done Judd Apatow any harm). Not only is the ‘comedy’ horrendously awful, but it is based around a premise that is not only beyond contrived and ridiculous, but also pretty much a giant advert for Apple (as well as porn sites).
In the current cinematic climate it seems all mainstream comedies seem to think that having constant crude improvisation for the sake of it is enough to make a film a ‘comedy’, and unfortunately Sex Tape is just yet another unwanted addition to this. The plot to Sex Tape first of all naturally features wealthy protagonists who can not only afford a lovely huge house despite the fact that all Cameron Diaz’s character does is write a blog about her life as a parent (which allows for the film to open with a hideous voice over from Diaz) but Segel’s character has a job in the music industry where he constantly gets free iPads (even though he seems to have unlimited free time when the narrative demands it). So, of course they can just give away iPads (that is the last time I say that as otherwise this review is going to become an advert) to their friends and neighbours! I of course appreciate that this is a plot device but it is done in such a clumsy and clunky way.
Then when the ‘plot’ takes hold and our less than sympathetic protagonists have to get their generic media playing devices back everything feels like a series of over-extended gags/ set pieces that are not funny at the start and the longer they go on just get increasingly irritating. Then they get them all back (that may be a spoiler, but the film is so predictable that giving away spoilers is almost impossible) and screenwriters Kate Angelo, Nicholas Stoller and Jason Segel himself realise they still have another 30 minutes of the film to go and so fill the final 30 minutes of the narrative with what is almost a completely new story involving their sex tape that really does feel like it was made up as they filmed. The premise to Sex Tape could have been funny if a minor subplot within a film, but to devote a whole feature length narrative to it truly is scraping the barrel and it shows when watching this detritus of a film.
The performances are not much better; Jason Segel can be very likeable, but it seems like he cannot really be bothered and he also appears to be way too happy to be naked all the time. Meanwhile Cameron Diaz is just as highly irritating as ever; not only as she often an incredibly irritating and unlikeable screen presence in so many films, she has a tendency to turn up in so many dire films as well! The supporting cast of the likes of Rob Lowe, Ellie Kemper and Rob Corddry look happy to take the money and turn up for enough scenes to embarrass themselves. From start to finish, not only does the extremely complacent laziness mean that Sex Tape is never funny, but is also highly irritating to watch.
With a hideously contrived plot that not only feels like it was made up by the writers as they went along but also feels like a giant advert for apple, deeply unlikeable characters and ‘comedy’ that is crude and lazy or stupid and lazy (but never actually funny), Sex Tape is quite simply atrocious.