Sex Tape

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Sex Tape

There are a lot of elements working hard to make Sex Tape one of the worst films of the year, so singling out one to blame is both near-impossible and deeply unfair. A film this bad doesn’t just happen. It takes all manner of factors working together to waste ninety minutes of your life this badly. Sometimes they’re little things, like Jason Segel’s weirdly plastic lineless face in the early flashback scenes or Cameron Diaz saying the utterly unbelievable line in 2014, “am I really going to sell my blog for money?” Sometimes they’re bigger things, like the way Segel half-shouts a lot of his lines every time he’s meant to be flustered like someone who’s forgotten how to act, or the way this film shows us both leads repeatedly all-nude from the back only so it’s impossible not to think “butt double”, or even how the film spends the entire time telling us that the sex tape it revolves around is some kind of massively powerful erotic masterpiece that literally makes the people who see it have to have sex right that instant (even if they’re in someone else’s car) and then when we finally do see it it’s just a bunch of bad jokes.
Even for a movie about a sex tape, the story here is terrible: Annie (Diaz) and Jay (Segel) started having loads of sex at university – then she got pregnant, they got married, they had two kids and their sex life just died. So they’re not perverts or idiots or swingers or inexperienced or people who like to watch: they’re middle-America looking to rekindle their perfectly legit and socially acceptable sex lives by recording themselves doing it. Which they do, then somehow Jay synchs the video to every single iPad he’s ever owned (this, surprisingly, is made to seem somewhat plausible) and now they have to try and track them all down because someone’s sending them suspicious texts saying they’ve already seen it … and who gives away iPads anyway?
Not only does this film take way too long to get to this stage of the story, it turns out that they only really visit one iPad holder: the family-friendly CEO looking to buy Annie’s blog, Hank (Rob Lowe). This extended scene is set up to be some kind of comedy centrepiece – he has paintings on the walls of classic Disney movie scenes with his face painted onto the characters – but like everything in this film it never finds a level where we know what’s meant to be funny.
Maybe this was meant to be one of those “one crazy night” films where average folks lives spiral out of control – Annie does coke, Jay flings a dog into a wall using a treadmill, they get blackmailed by a nine-year-old, they break into a warehouse, Jay falls out a second-storey window (he’s fine) and off a balcony (not so fine) – but it never establishes their normal life well enough to make the craziness seem funny and not merely off-putting and random. But at least Jay makes a number of references to how sturdy and useful the iPad is: got to get that product placement in there somewhere.
Written by Anthony Morris