Raunchy Hollywood comedies usually only go one of two ways. They either impress and surprise audiences and come up with something that works, just like The Hangover did. On the other-hand, you get films like The Hangover Part II & Part III that try too hard to be funny, with very little humor and effort put into them. When it comes to what you say and show, that’s also a tricky situation. You either have to go all out, or have some reservations and focus more on the situation in a comical matter. I’m happy to say that this film is not a Part II or Part III, so you can rest easy now. It’s also certainly far superior to the duo’s previous outing, Bad Teacher.
For Annie and Jay (Cameron Diaz & Jason Segel), life is a lot different than it used to be. Back in college, the two couldn’t resist having sex at any given time, at any given location. The two were inseparable and the love and passion was clearly evident. Then, Annie got pregnant and her father told Jay that they can say goodbye to sex. Brushing this notion off, the couple was determined to try to have sex constantly, but a baby makes that tough and you can only imagine how two babies makes the situation. They both love each other and they both clearly want to have sex, but how do they get that passion back?
Well, Annie has the brilliant idea of pawning her kids off on Grandma (Nancy Lenehan) and asks Jay if he wants to use his new iPad to record them having sex. After a long and interesting night, the two agree that it’d be best to delete the video. Unfortunately, that very video sync’s to Jay’s cloud and gets dispressed to every iPad that he gave away for his job. Now, the mailman, the couple’s best friends (Rob Corddry & Ellie Kemper), and even Annie’s boss (Rob Lowe) have copies of their sex tape. The mission will be to retrieve the iPad’s in a timely manner, before any real damage is done to the couple’s lives and emotions! It doesn’t help that a mysterious number is practically blackmailing the couple.
Sex Tape is a funny look at what happens after marriage and kids take over life and how you get that spark back in your relationship. The topic of lost love of passion isn’t anything new, but you through in recording yourself having sex and you’ve got a new film (or two)! Rather than attempting to be as sexy as can be and as dirty as it could be, this film relies on its hilarious stars to fumble their way through sex and reigniting that passion, to the point of doing whatever it takes to retrieve the film that they worked so hard on. In some ways, it’s an “honest” approach to telling an already goofy sounding story.
Jason Segel is a personal favorite of mine, as I’ve loved his mixture of hilariously goofy and unabashedly strange humor. He has a great feel for the films he’s in and his timing is everything. He does, or says the right thing at the perfect moment and his general, kind approach towards everything makes him all the more enjoyable. Cameron Diaz brings a lot to the table as well, proving that she can balance sexy and funny, while still holding her own as a strong mother. Her reactions are pure and often comical and she’s a joy to watch at all times because she’s always captivating your attention. They’re not a bad-looking couple, but seeing them try to fool around is one of the films biggest and best jokes.
With two fantastic leads already, Sex Tape goes even further with some really great supporting characters that manage to keep the laughs up in the most odd situations. While he may be playing a variation of his Parks & Rec character, Rob Lowe is flat-out-funny in his quirky role that involves cocaine, death metal, and paints of Disney films with his head plastered over a character. He’s such a weirdo, but he’s also somewhat charming and you can’t help but enjoy everything he says or does. Rob Corddry and Ellie Kemper are great as the couple’s friends that can’t help but wonder what’s on the tape, igniting a strange passion of their own. Their curiosity and affinity for Segel and Diaz makes for a lot of laughs.
I really did enjoy this film’s approach to its risque subject, as it manages to encompass all the aspects of love and love-making within a short amount of time. There are the college years where the couple coudln’t be apart from each other, the marital years where they try sometimes, and then the post-kid years where it just never happens. Both Segel and Diaz want to have sex, but their lives are busy and tiresome and nothing gets them going like those college years. The idea of the sex tape is used to find something new that the couple could experience and them making it is just as uncomfortable for us to watch, as it is for them to make it. We see glimpses of the material and it’s bizarre, sexy, and then downright strange. Fortunately, we can relax knowing that the characters know it was a slight mist-step on their parts.
There were a few things that didn’t really add up in this film, like Segel’s knowledge of iPad’s and general technology. He works with them and syncs them all the time, but can only delete files from the device itself (which isn’t the only way). Segel’s character is a radio DJ of sorts and Diaz blogs about motherhood, but they have a pretty large house (just something odd, not a complaint). Now, the villain in this film makes no sense at all and his character and motivations are never really explored either. He just kind of shows up and the makes his case known (which is a terrible one at that). There’s also a cameo by someone outstanding who deserved far more time on-screen. More than anything, this film just felt really short and everything was resolved fairly quickly. I wanted to spend more time with the couples and was genuinely interested in seeing what they get up to next. Plus, I am always an advocate of more laughter.
All in all, Sex Tape was a pretty satisfying time at the movies. I laughed and cringed a lot and was really blown away by how much better this film was, than I had previously expected. I should have known better than to doubt Jason Segel and even Cameron Diaz came through for me in the end. There’s something about her… This film does borrow from other films and most notably The Hangover (when it comes to watching the tape), but not enough so that it felt like something we’d already seen before. There are enough quirky characters to keep you engaged and the jokes rarely ever stop. I wouldn’t recommend seeing this with family members, but a group of friends should make for a good time (seeing the movie, of course…).
Sex Tape Trailer