Sex Tape (Review)

NOW FOR THE REVIEW…

“Sex, sex, sex, that’s what they always think about, isn’t it?” Never has a Monty Python quote (from Life of Brian, in case you’re wondering) rung more true for a high-tier comedy like Sex Tape. Why? Because the main characters in this movie never talk about anything else, unless it has something to do with the natural act between a man and a woman. We’re not even kidding, almost all of their dialogue either has the word “sex” or every other synonym of the word embedded somewhere in there, if not a description of any type of compromising position they can think of. Of course, you’d expect a lot of focus on sex in a movie called Sex Tape, but it’s actually remarkable that they can talk about it for so long without a moment’s pause. As you can imagine, all the constant references to sex get extremely tired after the first five minutes and just becomes more and more irritating.

That’s the perfect word to describe Sex Tape: irritating. It’s like listening to a couple you don’t particularly like constantly bombard you with private, intimate details of what they get up to in the bedroom, under the delusion that their love-making is so passionate and unique (when in reality it’s anything but) that they have to share it with as many people as they feel they should. And all the time, you’re sat there being forced to soak in their “wisdom” and smiling politely when in your head you’re imagining performing male and female castration on both of them so that they never have to talk to you about it again. The viewing experience of Sex Tape in a nutshell, then (except for the castration part… if you actually think that, you seriously need help).

All this small talk about sex leaves not much else for the movie to throw at us. The laughs are very few in between, if any at all, and once again most of the laughs have to in some form or another be related to sex. Due to the constant in-your-face reminder that this is meant to be a sex comedy, you’ll be too exhausted to find the humour in much else. Even a pro-longed set-piece involving a manic house dog (which would be out of place in a Tom and Jerry cartoon let alone an adult-orientated sex romp) can struggle to raise huge laughs, and yet it’s the highlight of the movie.

Many critics beforehand have pointed out the farfetched plot and uncomfortable product placement which make the ones in Man of Steel look subtle by comparison, and they’re not without reason to do so. The whole idea of a sex tape leaking to family and friends can work (hell, even Road Trip kind of did this the right way and that film was released over 14 years ago) but the inclusion of the iCloud and “Frankensync” software as integral items to the plot makes it more needlessly complicated than it should be. Just have one of them accidentally send it out via e-mail – done, sorted, much easier to explain! But no, they constantly feel the need to remind us how Apple products and software can do all this stuff so sufficiently – in fact, at one point, the film actually stops for a few seconds and more or less becomes an advert for how the new iPad has better resolution than its predecessor. It’s painful to watch at time, it’s that blatant. Look, if you want to make a multi-million dollar Apple commercial that’s fine, but do it with the most accessible script possible, not some overly-smutty and adult-focused sex comedy. It’s like advertising a brand of baby nappies during Sin City, chances are the target audience won’t actually see it. Other plot developments are made up as the film goes along, which is never a good sign; completely out of the blue, the main characters’ friends’ kid suddenly turns out to be a psychotic blackmailer who for whatever unexplained reason really has it out for Jason Segal’s character. This guy only appeared in one scene before, and even then there wasn’t any build-up and just seemed like a throwaway character. By the time he does show up later, you’ll have forgotten about him already.

Most crucially, however, the people hitting you over the head with all the sex talk don’t seem to have much of a spark between them at all. Cameron Diaz and Segal have appeared together on-screen before – specifically in director Jake Kasdan’s previous directorial effort Bad Teacher – but here, there’s nothing here to suggest that their characters are actually a loving couple or that they even belong together. Their chemistry is somewhat stilted and their interaction with each other comes across as a little awkward – not the type you would even expect to make a sex tape together. Their actions, especially when it concerns their kids, are extremely questionable and downright stupid. Late into the film, they actually bring them along to a break-in because they couldn’t find a babysitter, and then encourage them to help them commit a serious felony by breaking and entering. Their parenting skills almost match the contemptible efforts of Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne in Bad Neighbours, but perhaps not as awful.

What we’re left with, in a film light on laughter, light on logic, and light on romantic chemistry, is a tiresome and dumb reminder that sex exists, and nothing else. Put simply, this is a Sex Tape you’ll wish were done by professionals.

SO, TO SUM UP…

Sex Tape is an ill-conceived comedy about doing the deed, with smut and foul-mouthed tirades being its only identity with little else to offer in terms of actual comedy, a coherent plot, subtle product placement, and a disappointingly lacking chemistry between its two stars. Not the worst comedy this year, but it’s somewhere in the top ten at least…

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