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Friday, July 18, 2014

Sex Tape 2014 * 1/2 Stars

Sex TapeDirector: Jake Kasdan
Year: 2014
Rated R
Rating: * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Rob Corddry

The average ticket price of a nighttime showing via your local Cineplex, is about $10. If you decide to take in a viewing of Sex Tape, well you'll probably pay $10 too much. There are bad movies and then there are excruciatingly bad movies. This pile of horse dung falls into the latter category. It's a lame, irrelevant comedy that at 94 short minutes, actually comes off as boring. As an audience member, you get to experience a non-existent script, sloppy direction, tastelessness, capricious star cameos (by Rob Lowe and Jack Black), and the acting of Jason Segel. All I can say is that what's on screen is the worst film of the year (so far). Earlier in February, I initially gave Ride Along that prize and called that failed monstrosity a big fat "turkey." Sex Tape is much more than that. In fact, it's a flat out bomb. And I'm not just talking your typical bomb, this thing might as well be Hiroshima.

Every instance of dialogue is improvised to the point where it's high level awkwardness. And the acting in general, is just about as lousy as it gets. Finally, I'm pretty sure that this thing literally pays homage to the adult film industry. Case in point: listen for cheesy 80's synthesizer music that accompanies a lot of Sex Tape's most pivotal scenes (this flick is far from being a porno but sure seems bent on referencing one). As for the sex scenes which you knew would accompany something like this, well they look fake because everything's completely blocked. It's almost as if the actors have their clothes on throughout. And for the record, the main characters have sex in broad daylight where everyone can I guess, see them. Talk about tacky and I'm thinking, downright illegal.

Scripted by the woman who wrote The Back-up Plan (which starred Jennifer Lopez) and directed by a guy (Jake Kasdan, son of veteran director Lawrence Kasdan) who actually made something intelligent a while ago with 1998's Zero Effect, Sex Tape follows a happily married couple who's sex life because of their marriage, is beginning to wane a bit. They are too tired at the end of the day, they both have two kids, and they both like to concentrate on their careers (he's a disc jockey and she's a blogger who might sell her website for a huge profit). The couple, who don't reveal their last name, is played by Cameron Diaz (her character is Annie) and Jason Segel (his character is Jay). One night while the kids are away, they decide to have a little alone time. Their solution: spice things up a bit by making a sex tape using their iPad as a filming device. Here's the problem: after their three hour tryst has been filmed, Jay forgets to erase the material and somehow by osmosis, it gets sent out to everybody they know who also owns iPads (they were given as gifts by Jay and Annie for no apparent reason except to service the plot). We're talking Annie's work boss (played by Rob Lowe who actually looks like he's aging), Annie's parents, Jay and Annie's kids (ugh!), the mailman (double ugh!), Jay best friends (a couple played by Rob Corddry and Ellie Kemper), and Jay's best friend's son (who somehow has Jay's cell phone number, creepy). The rest of the movie involves Jay and Annie trying to get every one's iPads back and I guess, destroying them.

As I bulked (and cringed) at the sight of Sex Tape, there were a ton of questions I pondered with each mitigating second. One of them involved the Diaz character yearning to make the quote unquote "sex tape" and then not wanting to view it afterwards. So okay, what's the point then? And what's up with the sexual escapades going viral to friends and family? How did this happen? All they did was videotape it right? So how did it get downloaded and sent out into the so called "clouds" (whatever that means)? The movie never tells us this because it thinks we don't notice these things. I did and you will too (unless you save yourself from purchasing a ticket, let's hope.). Then we have one of the kids in the film (Jay's best friend's child) who is mean-spirited and vindictive in such an unnecessary way. Sex Tape never gives us a reason or back story on why he would be so inclined to blackmail an adult for $25,000 (it gives us a reason on what he would use the money for but doesn't explain his disturbing personality). Basically, he wants to get paid and if he doesn't get said money, he'll post the three hour feature on YouPorn. I mean, with a kid this nasty, you'd think the amount would be a heck of a lot more (why not go for a mil next time, oh well). Oh and I almost forgot, why does the Diaz character care what her work boss thinks if he happens to see the video of her getting intimate with the hubby? He does cocaine, he has tats everywhere on his body, he drinks straight scotch, and he listens to Slayer. In what world would he be offended? I mean seriously! Finally, we have Segel getting more scantily clad in this flick than Diaz. Huh? He seems to have it in his contract that he has to appear totally naked or half-naked in just about everything he's in (see Forgetting Sarah Marshall and you'll know what I mean). Does he think he's actually in good shape or is he just making fun of his own appearance? It hardly matters because the chemistry between him and Diaz's Annie is totally non-existent. I would never believe in a million years they were actually dating, or projecting themselves as a full fledged couple, or even married (with two kids) for that matter.

That brings me to the casting which consists of miscast and underdeveloped (not to mention underutilized) roles. Basically, I've never thought of Jason Segel as a good lead actor. He was appealing in Knocked Up and way back in the day with Dead Man On Campus. Those were supporting parts though, and now studio heads believe that he is actually the right guy to star front and center. Wrong! And what about the Cordry character (Robby, Jay's token best friend that seems lifted from every other sex comedy/rom com)? I mean why does director Jake Kadsan hold him back? We all know how funny Rob Corddry was in What Happens in Vegas and Hot Tub Time Machine. Here he gets almost nothing to do script wise. The result is a waste of his considerable comedic talents if you ask me.

All in all, Sex Tape is a comedy that lacks depth, an overall point, and a large amount of brain cells (what's on screen has two of them and they're constantly fighting each other). I don't know what the rest of 2014 holds, but even at its worst, it won't equal the amount of stench going on here. During the filming of Diaz and Segel's three hour sexathon, the book entitled The Joy of Sex is frequently referenced (and used in context). Well guess what, there is absolutely no "joy" in what's lazily plastered on screen. That's the overall tale of this "tape."

Written by Jesse Burleson

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