Sex Tape isn’t worth the bandwith

Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz reteam for a disjointed sex comedy, playing characters who seem more into iPads than ass.

Sex Tape

One of Sex Tape’s big comic setpieces sees married couple Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel attempt to retrieve an iPad at the home of Flanders-esque multimillionaire Rob Lowe. While Segel wrestles violently with a guard dog all over the house, Diaz listens to Slayer and does blow with Lowe’s now-revealed nice-guy-with-a-wild-side. It’s a long sequence that trots out all kinds of hoary ’80s comedy clichés (though the dog never bites Segel in the nads) and essentially stops the film’s supposedly propulsive action in its tracks — it’s also a scene that could’ve been in nearly any comedy without changing a word. Sex Tape has a relatively current concept (although it’s ostensibly the same as 2000’s Road Trip, this time we have the Internet!) and a game cast, but it never rises above a loosely connected collection of bottom-drawer bits and bobs of comedy writing.

sex-tape-roller-skate-sexJay (Segel) and Annie (Diaz) used to love having sex; they had it everywhere, all the time. Now that they’re overworked suburban parents, though, they can barely find the time. In an attempt to spice up their sex life, they film themselves going through every position in The Joy of Sex. After the marathon three-hour bout of lovemaking, Jay forgets to delete the video, and the superior technology and useful apps of the iPad upload the video to the cloud. This wouldn’t be so bad if Jay wasn’t some kind of millionaire radio DJ who routinely gives his old iPads to acquaintances, all of whom now have access to all three hours of  their acrobatic boinking. In order to save face (and probably, you know, the fate of the Earth) they must race all over town to uncover the iPads and delete the incriminating video.

Reuniting Diaz and Segel with director Jake Kasdan after the pretty forgettable Bad Teacher, Sex Tape uses the basic ‘into-the-night’ structure (think After Hours or Superbad) to no particular advantage. Segel and Diaz’s gusto means the film has some laughs (though the decent supporting cast of comedy ringers isn’t given much to do) but references to the cloud and Yo La Tengo posters aside, it’s practically interchangeable with any measure of forgettable Dudley Moore movie from the ’80s. It hits its beats dutifully without any real conviction — miles behind Forgetting Sarah Marshall, a film also scripted by Segel and Nicholas Stoller that nevertheless sidestepped the kind of generic laughs Sex Tape works so hard for.

Sex Tape is so shamelessly enamoured with iPads and Apple products that it essentially becomes the world’s most expensive and butt-filled industrial video; Segel is constantly waxing poetic about the incredible resolution and construction of the tablets. In fact, Sex Tape shows more interest and knowledge in current technology than it does in sex despite all of the furious, carefully-obscured humping the leads do.

While ostensibly filthy, Sex Tape is yet another comedy about preserving the white-picket-fence wholesomeness of the average american suburbanite. For a brief moment, it seems to suggest that everyone has sex and it doesn’t matter who sees you fucking on the Internet, but its real moral is that people use sex tapes to fix problems in relationships. A good old meat-and-potatoes sex life is the only acceptable way to live your life and this good old meat-and-potatoes comedy is the best way to learn that, apparently. ■

Sex Tape opens in theatres today