Twitter Plot Summary: In a bid to reboot their love life, Jay and Annie decide to film it – and then accidentally share it with friends and family.
It might be worth saying from the off that Sex Tape is technically an incorrect title, because at no point do we venture back to the 90s and see an actual VHS tape. Instead, the “tape” is an mp4 video file recorded directly onto an iPad. The plot is a simple one. Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel play a couple whose love life went out the window following the birth of their two children. In a bid to spice things up, they decide to make a sex tape. Rather foolishly, this is then shared to a number of iPads that Segel’s Jay has dished out to a number of friends and, oddly, the postman. They then have to go out and retrieve the iPads and/or delete the video from each device before friends and family see the video.
So other than an excuse to see bits of Cameron Diaz and Jason Siegel in the nip (and nowhere near as often as the trailer might suggest), there isn’t much else to it. Despite being labelled as a comedy this is a joke vacuum, little more than a 90 minute iPad advert that has been advocated by an array of famous faces.
Plus, in this day and age you have to take the technological side of things with a huge grain of salt. Even assuming all local copies of the video are destroyed, normally once something is uploaded to the web it remains there for time immemorial. Given the relatively youthful attitudes of Jay and Annie, you would think they’d have a better concept of how the internet and technology works. Instead, ignoring the cloud sync aspect, this could have been a script written in the 90s where the latest writer only gave it one quick draft to bring it up to date. The problem with this process is that it blatantly required much more work than that. Much, much more.
Rob Lowe gets the best out of this tired script, the head of a wholesome family business who has a penchant for snorting cocaine and listening to Slayer. In a distant second place are Rob Corddry and Ellie Kemper as the best friends, but their role is never fully expanded to a satisfactory level. Jack Black has a brief cameo and does his usual thing, but his appearance makes you wonder how the film would have turned out had he been given the lead role. Probably equally as bad, thinking about it.
Meanwhile Cameron Diaz gets a few good moments but Jason Segel does little to cement himself as a leading man. What worked in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and, to a lesser extent, in How I Met Your Mother is entirely absent here. Jay is just a thoroughly annoying creation. Segel is decent given the right material – or performing his own script – but this particular performance does him no favours.
If there is a message to Sex Tape, it’s lost somewhere in this awful, awful plot. Something about people forgetting who they are and losing sight of their lives, no matter how vacuous and unimportant their previous selves might have been? I don’t know, by that point I’d lost interest.