Any movie with the word sex in the title and Cameron Diaz in her underwear and a newly slim Jason Segel in the all-together should be a lot sexier than “Sex Tape” is. The first twenty minutes plays more like an attempt to break the world record for using the word “sex” in a movie than an actual story. They talk about sex, have sex, then talk about it some more, but rather than being racy or slap-your-thigh funny it becomes tiresome. The only word used more often is “iPad,” which is even less provocative.
Segel and Diaz are Jay and Annie, a married couple who try to spice things up in the bedroom by videotaping themselves working through the Joy of Sex page by page. All goes well until Jay forgets to delete the video and mistakenly posts their three-hour amateur porntacular on the cloud. “Our sex tape has been synced to several devices,” he says, “all of which are in the possession of friends!” With BFFs Robby (Rob Corddry) and Tess (Ellie Kemper), the embarrassed couple try and retrieve each of the “infected” iPads, especially the one in the hands of Hank Rosenbaum (Rob Lowe), the family-first CEO of the company that publishes Annie’s G-rated mommy blog.
There are a handful of laughs in “Sex Tape.” Most of them center on the iPad retrieval from Rosenbaum’s mansion. It’s a ten-minute long farce involving cocaine, a dog on a treadmill and a sex toy used as a boomerang. The sequence is out-of-control and capped by a smarmily charming performance by Rob Lowe (who knows a thing or two about sex tapes), the straight-laced executive with a wild side.
The other Rob, Corddry, is also very funny. His wide-eyed interest in his best friend’s sex tape is amusing and feels like the most genuine thing in the movie.
The whole thing feels like a premise for a joke. The story is candid but doesn’t ever feel heartfelt. For the comedy to work the audience has to be able to buy in and while many can relate to the bedroom blues on display, the movie is more concerned with titillation than sincerity.
At one point in the film Diaz talks about her love of porn, but adds she doesn’t watch it anymore because, “the quality of the writing has gone down hill. I like it when they really feel like they’re in love.” She might have been talking about her own movie.
Diaz and Segel are OK, but despite some enthusiastic (and gymnastic) performances they don’t sell the movie’s main gag. The set up is so drawn out that despite its provocative premise it never seduces the audience.
There are laughs sprinkled throughout. Segel has razor sharp comic timing and can’t help but get a giggle even when he has to rattle off endless exposition, but try as he might, he doesn’t make the same impression he did in movies like “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” or “Bad Teacher,” his previous teaming with Diaz.
“Sex Tape” is an R-rated comedy in which the least interesting part of the movie is the sex and the sex talk.