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. Written by
Sony Pictures Entertainment
Cameron Diaz headlined a shoddy comedy that opened earlier in 2014, "The Other Woman", but instead of improving from the mistake of choosing that script to further her career, Diaz outdoes her poor script selection with "Sex Tape". The adjective "atrocious" was used in numerous film reviews in describing "Sex Tape". Atrocious is such a jarring word, it sounds like it could tear skin if used too aggressively. The term should only be used selectively, but the quality of the screenplay used to produce "Sex Tape" creates justifiable cause to snort that word every second of the feeble film.
In "Sex Tape", Diaz and Jason Segal's characters, Jay and Annie, create their three-hour sex video using an iPad. Their captured copulation becomes a "must-see" by anyone in the film with knowledge of the recording. Maybe that's what Director Jake Kasdan hoped would be the reaction to his newly released comedy, but the final result does not warrant a compulsive urge to see it, nor does it scream box-office sellout. Once they absorb the first ten minutes, audiences will react with a desire to run away from the theater instead of a continued persistence to watch it. The talent of Diaz and Segal is squandered into superficial characters and a defective plot line. Diaz declares her agenda as an actress with "Sex Tape". As mentioned earlier, she starred in another horrid effort this year, "The Other Woman", and what both movies have common are crude, oversimplified stories that can be accessed by just about anyone in the target audience demographic. Pursuing challenging roles like she did in "Being John Malkovich", "Something About Mary", and "Vanilla Sky" has seemed to have vanished from Diaz's current plans. Instead, she seems focused on being a top-rated actress at the box-office. If I'm completely incorrect and these scripts are the best she is offered, then her time is done and she should surrender.
For the material she uses, Diaz does fine in her role. I actually have no squabbles about anything she contributes as an actress to "Sex Tape". Too bad no other film element is aiding her like a script, a well-written character, a competent director or a co-star in Jason Segal, whose discouraging performance is barely worth mentioning. Segal's reputation reminds us he's reliable, but his work here suggests a professional decline. He is dormant most of the film. One of his character's "exclamatory" lines includes an "I'm so excited right now," but he says it so lethargically that I was not sure if his character was being sincere or sarcastic.
"Sex Tape" lacks the nerve to carry out the implications of its risqué title and premise. The film slaps its cards on the table in the first 30 minutes, then fritters an hour of your life away on plot developments that travel to insane levels past the original concept and fruitless dialogue that talks in circles. "Sex Tape" has all the talk and hype, but the final product is shallow and slightly perverted.
The lesson that can be imparted from "Sex Tape" is that some trailers do not lie. If it has a name that screams "RAZZIE!" and hokey previews, then it's probably going to expel respect out of the reputation of the once acclaimed Diaz and the always-promising Segal. Those who wisely avoided the trailers are in the safe zone, but everyone else who takes pleasure in seeing Diaz's eternal charm sparkle the screen and hoped that maybe "Sex Tape" would be something irreverently fun like "Bad Teacher" will be proved wrong.
½ / * * * *
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