Reviewed for Shockya by Harvey Karten. Data-based on Rotten Tomatoes
Director: Jake Kasdan
Screenplay: Kate Angelo, Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller, story by Kate Angelo
Cast: Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Rob Corddry, Ellie Kemper, Rob Lowe
Screened at: AMC Empire, NYC, 7/15/14
Opens: July 18, 2014
You’ve heard it in your Sociology course, in newspaper articles, in magazines (though perhaps not in Cosmo) that—put in the simplest terms–people marry because they’re horny, but that you can’t expect the passion to last forever. Passion cools and, if you’re lucky, a more mature “love” takes over. But that doesn’t satisfy Jay (Jason Segel) and Annie (Cameron Diaz). Before they got married and had a couple of kids, they thought of nothing but sex, and had no problem acting on their thoughts. Some unfortunate, but true words of wisdom come from Annie’s dad when Annie announces at dinner that she is pregnant and is getting married: “There goes the sex,” he suggests. And he’s right. Once Clive (Sebastian Hedges Thomas) and Nell Giselle Eisenberg) are born, Annie and Jay are too exhausted and must rely on making dates for some action, until they decide on a solution. They will make a three-hour marathon sex tape while their kids are staying with Annie’s mom, Linda (Nancy Lenehan), they will put the tape on their iPad for their own use, and refer to it when they need something more than Victoria’s Secret to stimulate them. The trouble occurs when Jay forgets to erase the video, which has not yet gone out to the general public, but which exists only on a few iPads that they handed out as gifts. When they get an email expressing a positive review of the tape from an anonymous sender, they are determined to beg, borrow and steal every iPad that they gave out.
It takes quite a bit of time for Jake Kasdan’s comedy to get funny. For the first segment focusing principally on the sexy couple, Jay and Annie discuss their adventures in bed but what comes across as jokey is forced. Not until they get to the lavish home of Hank (Rob Lowe), the CEO of a company that want to highlight Annie as a model mom to advertise a product, does hilarity reign. Pretending that they came upon Hank’s home by accident while collecting for a charity, Annie distracts Hank while Jay, feigning diarrhea and needing the lavatory, is seen by the boss’ German Shepherd and attacked while searching for the iPad given to Hank. The physical comedy includes the dog’s being thrown against the wall when it jumps on a fast-moving treadmill. While unconscious, Jay asks his voice-activated gadget “How do you do CPR on a dog?” and receiving the answer, “There are four Starbucks in your area.” Meanwhile Hank shows himself as anything but a prudish corporate executive, sharing a line of blow with Annie.
Rob Corddry as Robby and Ellie Kemper as Tess, Jay and Annie’s best friends, are also shaken down for the iPads that were given to them, while Robby and Ellie’s mature-for-his-age twelve-year-old Howard (Harrison Holzer) tries to shake Jay down for $25,000, agreeing to use his computer expertise to erase the three-hour tape. A fun scene involving an uncredited Jack Black as head of “youporn” finds Jay and Annie together with their two kids playing the game of “breaking and entering,” smashing through the company garage to get at the machines holding their tape and destroying them.
“Sex Tape” features lots of nudity, which might make the viewer wonder whether the bodies are really those of Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel or those of others hired to get it on. I would tend to think they belong to the stars.
Rated R. 95 minutes. © 2014 by Harvey Karten, Member, New York Film Critics Online
Story – B
Acting – B+
Technical – B+
Overall – B