I recently reviewed ‘Bad Teacher’, which was a welcome surprise, a film which broke the mould and refused to be just a basic, low-level comedy. Three years later and the same director who brought us ‘Bad Teacher’, Jake Kasdan, pairs up Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel once again. Sadly, ‘Sex Tape’ is just a clear indication that Kasdan has regressed, producing another cheap, average, rom-com that you would happily put on before bed and feel no remorse for falling asleep halfway through. All those expectations of an easy-watch comedy, which ‘Bad Teacher’ managed to prove wrong, are as accurate as ever with ‘Sex Tape’.
Jay (Segel) and Annie (Diaz) are introduced as a fresh, exciting couple during their time at college. Years later, a predictably stale marriage is on the verge of crisis as the tensions of parenthood take hold. Annie plans to spice up their awkward sex life, by suggesting her and Jay make an amateur pornographic video, for their eyes only of course. This doesn’t quite work out, as you may have guessed, as those pesky iPads (other tablet devices are available) have shared the video with anyone who owns one of Jay’s second hand devices. So begins the hunt for the sender of menacing text messages, 9 year old Howard, who blackmails Jay with the threat of uploading the home video to YouPorn (other pornographic websites are available). On the way, Jay endures madcap scenes at Annie’s new bosses’ house, where Jay inexplicably fights a dog, and Annie snorts cocaine, which is actually one of the funnier moments in the film. Then follows a surreal, uncomfortable sequence where the entire family end up at YouPorn HQ, confronted by an odd Jack Black cameo. Jay spouts a cheesy, family value message, which is strange considering this is not a family film, everything gets resolved and all is forgotten. The end.
Cameron Diaz portrays quite a different character to the brilliant Miss Halsey in ‘Bad Teacher’, this time depicting a more reserved woman, one who is concerned with other people’s opinions. As I mentioned before, Diaz’s very believable cocaine scene is arguably the highlight of the film and her attitude towards Jay throughout is, I imagine, very accurate of a woman in her position. Unfortunately, any of the redemption Jason Segel gained from ‘Bad Teacher’ was quickly tarnished by this showing. At times, he was quite funny, but mostly, Segel was guilty of some of the more cheesy and annoying parts of the film, most notably the slapstick, dog-fight scenes which I cannot forgive. Rob Corddry deserves a mention, for providing a very entertaining support role to be proud of, if only he had more screen time.
‘Sex Tape’ was mildly entertaining, and that is being generous of a film which never pushed any boundaries or even drew a genuine laugh-out-loud moment. I originally thought the premise of the film might produce another top-drawer comedy, but I was disappointed. The incredibly long drawn-out process of resolution became dull, ridiculous and very bizarre. I can’t help but feel the thin, tired plot was filled out by cheap, repetitive jokes just to get the movie made. As far as comedies of this type go, ‘Sex Tape’ is by no means the best, but sadly, it isn’t the worst either. Watch this very mediocre film once, it is just about worth it, but I did warn you.
DIRECTOR: JAKE KASDAN
STARRING: JASON SEGEL, CAMERON DIAZ