Sex tapes are nothing new in Hollywood. Everyone from Pamela Anderson and Paris Hilton to Saved by the Bell’s own Screech (Dustin Diamond) have had them stumble into public view — whether we want to see them or not. It was only a matter of time until a movie was made about the topic. And leave it to Jason Segel — who’s always willing to bare all (see Forgetting Sarah Marshall) — to star. Along with Cameron Diaz, reteaming with their Bad Teacher director Jake Kasdan, they shed some light on the most unflattering of home videos. So does hilarity ensue?
Annie (Diaz) is a mother of two who writes a mommy blog and keeps the house together while Jay (Segel) is off at work. Ten years and two kids later, Annie and Jay just can’t find the time to work conjugal visits into their marriage. Annie has just written a blog post about the lack of romance in their relationship — getting more hardcore than usual — which makes a big business a little weary of buying her blog, but CEO Hank (Rob Lowe) assures Annie that they are about to make a substantial offer
To celebrate, Annie sends the kids off to her mom’s for a sleepover and after some disastrous foreplay she gets the idea that they should make a sex tape to spice things up. And just wouldn’t you know it, Jay forgets to delete the video and winds up syncing it to every iPad he’s given out as a gift so now the two set off on a wild night to round up the videos and delete them before everyone sees them go the “Full Lincoln.”
Segel and his usual partner-in-crime Nicholas Stoller (Sarah Marshall and The Five-Year Engagement) have clearly rewritten credited co-writer Kate Angelo’s original idea — and Kasdan has let the ad-libs fly — but it never rises above standardized sitcom tropes. The driving subplot is so simple to clear up that it’s ridiculous how far the film goes after this comes to light. Thankfully, Diaz and Segel make a likeable enough couple to keep the film chugging along, but thank goodness for the supporting players. The comedic centerpiece for the film involves the couple at Hank’s house, in an elongated sequence where Jay gets chased by a dog and Annie does blow with her Disney-obsessed soon-to-be boss who just wants to rock out to some Slayer while the family’s away.
Also on the roster are Rob Corddry and Ellie Kemper who are fantastic together, even if Corddry feels a little old for her. Lowe completely steals the show, however, along with a hilarious cameo involving a break-in at YouPorn.com’s office. Segel fares way better than Diaz, but that should come as no surprise. Has she ever actually been funny anyway? At least she never breaks into hysterics and is way more watchable here than in The Other Woman.
Sex Tape is nowhere near one of the best of the year’s comedies, but it is way funnier than the trailers and TV spots make it out to be. Don’t take that as an endorsement to run out and see it, but just know that you’ll probably have a good time. Let’s just say that if there was ever a film to talk you out of ever making your own sex tape, this would be it.
Picture courtesy Columbia Pictures