Pros leave the roller skates on
Grade: C –
Director: Jake Kasdan
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Rob Corddry, Ellie Kemper and Rob Lowe
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hr. 34 min.
The presence of Rob Lowe in a movie titled Sex Tape is as witty as this flaccid farce gets—Google “Rob Lowe sex tape” if you’re too young to get the reference. The film even momentarily goes next level when the setting shifts to madcap sequence inside the mansion of Hank, Lowe’s character, which is adorned with a series of paintings featuring Hank’s face drawn into classic Disney movie stills, including The Lion King, Pinocchio, and—yep, you guessed it—Snow White. [Google “Rob Lowe Snow White” if you don’t get that one, either.]
A bawdy bore, Sex Tape is the unsexiest movie about sex, and that’s saying something considering one of its derriere-bearing stars is Cameron Diaz. Diaz reteams with her Bad Teacher director Jake Kasdan and co-star Jason Segel as a couple, Jay (Segel) and Annie (Diaz), whose red hot college romance has transitioned into a decade of familyhood and movie martial malaise.
In an effort to stoke their erstwhile sexual sparks, Jay and Annie decide record their three-hour romp through “The Joy of Sex” on Jay’s iPad. Unfortunately, Jay forgets to delete the video, and utter contrivance intercedes when a syncing app uploads the risque recording to a passel of other iPads gifted to various friends and family.
In the real world, an app able to accomplish such an online syncing process would also be capable of deleting uploaded files remotely from their source. Of course, that process would take about 30 seconds. Instead, Jay and Annie frantically spend all night—and the bulk of the film—chasing down the now tawdry tablets, including a visit to best friends Robbie and Tess (Rob Corddry and Ellie Kemper, a much funnier pair than the lead duo) and Hank (Lowe), a CEO hoping to buy Annie’s mommy blog as the face of his family friendly company.
Moreover, when someone extorts Jay by threatening to upload his video to an online porn website, a sane person would contact the website and formally request them to block and/or remove the improperly obtained recording. In Sex Tape, Jay and Annie pile their moppets into the family SUV, then use it to ram their way into the site’s corporate headquarters in order to take an axe to its servers.
There’s precious little spark between Segel and Diaz, and most of the script is the sort of forced shock dialogue that actually makes us think less of our protagonists. There’s not a truly funny or believable moment in all of Sex Tape, down to our eventual glimpse of the actual tape, which was ostensibly filmed with a stationary iPad yet somehow contains multiple camera angles. Well, there’s one believable moment: when Hank and Annie share lines of cocaine, Lowe and Diaz’s portrayals suggest some prior personal experience. Just Google “Rob Lowe and ….,” well, you get the idea.