‘Sex Tape’: Unfunny slapstick spoils the fun
By MARY HOULIHAN For Sun-Times Media July 16, 2014 8:41PM
The kinky home video made by overwhelmed parents Jay (Jason Segel) and Annie (Cameron Diaz) gets uploaded instead of deleted in “Sex Tape.” | SONY PICTURES
‘SEX TAPE’ ★★1⁄2
Annie Cameron Diaz
Jay Jason Segel
Robby Rob Corddry
Tess Ellie Kemper
Sony Pictures presents a film directed by Jake Kasdan and written by Kate Angelo, Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller. Running time: 90 minutes. Rated R (for strong sexual content, nudity, language and some drug use). Opens Friday at local theaters.
Updated: August 19, 2014 6:10AM
Cameron Diaz, a veteran of over-the-top humor since “There’s Something About Mary,” reteams with her “Bad Teacher” director Jake Kasdan, and co-star, Jason Segel, in “Sex Tape,” an uneasy comedy that is not without its laugh-out-loud moments.
Diaz and Segel have a winning chemistry in both the comedic and romantic aspects of the film. And as the hype suggests, there are plenty of naked and nearly naked bodies in this film that aims to be wholesomely raunchy.
After a quick prologue showing how hot Annie (Diaz) and Jay (Segel) are for each other in college — they literally can’t keep their hands off each other — “Sex Tape” jumps ahead 10 years to marriage, two kids and a life so busy they wonder if they’ve forgotten how to have sex.
So far, not too bad as the film addresses the plight of many couples with young children trying to find time for themselves in the bedroom without interruptions or overwhelming fatigue getting in the way.
One night, while the kids are with their grandparents, a little creativity is called for to spice up Annie and Jay’s marriage. With a little tequila encouragement, they make a sex tape featuring every position in the infamous guidebook “The Joy of Sex.”
Things go off the rails after Jay promises to erase the video and instead inadvertently sends it up into the cloud, that vast Internet landscape where friends, enemies and the mailman might see it thanks to interconnected iPads Jay has given away from his growing collection. Annie, whose mommy blog is about to be acquired by a large corporation keen on wholesomeness, panics.
With the help of their friends Robby (Rob Corddry) and Tess (Ellie Kemper), who are both horrified and fascinated with the clip, they set out to get the iPads back. This culminates in a bizarre, slapstick encounter at the home of Annie’s potential new boss Hank (Rob Lowe) that involves Slayer music, cocaine and a toothy guard dog.
But the preposterous recovery mission grows even stranger (and darker) when, accompanied by their two cute children (Sebastian Hedges Thomas and Giselle Eisenberg), Jay and Annie embark on another madcap run that ends at the desolate headquarters of the porn site where the tape is about to be uploaded for the entire world to see. (Jack Black plays the benevolent skin impresario who helps them out.)
In the end, “Sex Tape” feels like the halves of two different movies. There is a fun, believable comedy about family life (those kid actors have great comic potential) that is upended by the overly broad, barely funny attempts at reclaiming the sex tape. Some will see it as a lost opportunity; others will like it just fine. Each to their own.