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Friday, July 18, 2014

Movie review: Sex Tape exploits anxieties about cloud storage

Posted by on Fri, Jul 18, 2014 at 11:25 AM

  • photo by Claire Folger / courtesy Sony Pictures
  • Sex Tape
Sex Tape
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There is something to be said for films that announce their entire plot in the title. As we live in an unsubtle age, Sex Tape proudly airs the storyline of its entire 90-minute running time in each commercial, lobby stand and poster that advertises its arrival. Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel standing in their skivvies, looking frantic, while screaming, “You were supposed to erase it!” Now those are some dots the American public can connect.

And for those audience members who show up to the cinema looking for nothing more than what the ads promise, you are in luck, as there aren’t any hidden truths to be found. With director Jake Kasdan reuniting with his Bad Teacher cast of Diaz and Segel, the recording and subsequent hunt for copies of the titular video file eat up roughly 95 percent of the action.

Annie (Diaz) and Jay (Segel) meet while undergraduates in college and their sexual chemistry quickly fills all of their free time. Soon pregnant and married, they find that life is sapping them of any energy that could be put into their relationship. Annie is busy selling her successful “mommy” blog to a family board game conglomerate. Jay spends many nights out at concerts as part of his job at a radio station.

Attempting to reignite their sex lives, Annie suggests attempting each position illustrated in legendary guide The Joy of Sex while recording it to watch once and then delete forever. Jay attempts to keep the recording for posterity, but accidentally leaks it to their family and friends via the cloud. A panic-stricken night spent attempting to destroy each copy that has made it into the world then ensues.

Kasdan and crew are working from a script credited to Kate Angelo, a long-time sitcom writer, as well as Segel and writing partner Nicholas Stoller (The Five-Year Engagement), so it is difficult to pinpoint the person to blame for the unimaginative results on screen. Suffice it to say, other than imagining sex positions that could be filmed without actually showing too much skin, the movie never seems particularly concerned with originality. Louis CK–esque “My kids are assholes” jokes, rampant product placement and glowing reviews of the iPad plus a strange Youporn endorsement stands in for actual humor.

Give Diaz credit; she continues her streak of starring in bad films, as more or less the same character, that ultimately end with their audiences leaving happy. While many considered this year’s The Other Woman an early frontrunner for worst film of the year, it was an automatic crowd pleaser for some girls-night-out groups. Here we have Diaz starring as a harried wife attempting to keep the spark alive, and my guess is it will connect with those couples able to squeeze in a movie night while the babysitter has the kids.

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