You would think some sort of social contract would exist where a movie called Sex Tape might, you know, be sexy. Or at least not drain all the fun out of the premise, turning the simple idea of sex into something exhaustingly tedious and droll. Dig a little deeper and this should come as no surprise, since Sex Tape reassembles the talents of Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel and director Jake Kasdan, last seen drowning audiences in faux edginess with Bad Teacher (2011). Despite Bad Teacher just climbing over the $100 million mark, one might wonder who, exactly, was clamoring for this reformation and who thought sinking $40 million into its production was a smart bet. My best guess is that being Lawrence Kasdan’s spawn and Hollywood being some elaborate, confusing Ponzi scheme has much to do with it. Regardless, the results aren’t pretty.
The idea of building a movie around Cameron Diaz’s bare ass and a little bit of side boob in the year 2014 isn’t the most financially savvy of moves. But Sex Tape’s faults go beyond its reliance on base sexual excitement. Actually, the movie would probably be better — or at least more interesting — if it were smut. At least the chances of accidental laughs might be higher. No, Sex Tape wants to be adult. It wants to be funny and outrageous and raunchy. And it’s none of these things. Instead, it’s tedious and contrived and more than a bit stupid.
The film is built around the marriage of vapid mommy blogger Annie (Diaz) and Jay (Segel), who lament the loss of their sex life. So, with their kids off with a babysitter, the two decide to spice things up and make a sex tape that accidentally gets disseminated to a bunch of strangers. As a premise, this is fine, but the film builds this up in the most insipid ways. We are supposed to believe that Jay is a man with so many iPads that he constantly gives them away, and the video ends up getting accidentally uploaded onto all of them remotely. I can’t even wrap my mind around the three people who wrote the movie, the director, the actors and producers thinking a movie hinged on some guy fobbing iPads onto unsuspecting strangers is somehow a functional plot device. What world do these people live in? The movie acts like little more than an Apple commercial, with everyone using Macs, iPhones and the aforementioned iPads. It’s a pretty shoddy commercial since, apparently, anyone can end up with video of your naughty bits uploaded on it.
It slowly gets worse from here as Annie and Jay run around trying to get rid of their sex tape. Meanwhile, the movie is busy mistaking low-grade raunch (and by raunch, I mean obsessing over sex to the point of boorishness) for automatic laughter, and that a late-in-the-day Jack Black cameo still means something. It’s the worst kind of vanity project — the kind of eye-rolling self-congratulatory pap where we’re constantly told that Diaz is a “sexpot” and that Segel is well-endowed. So not only is the movie wholly perfunctory, it’s obnoxiously self-centered, too. Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, language and some drug use.