By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)
Conservative and reserved audiences beware! This often raunchy comedy may offend or disturb your delicate constitutions. As for the fans of this bawdy variety of humor, I can’t completely encourage them to run out and put their money down. The latest risqué film of Jake Kasdan (Bad Teacher) does start off promisingly, but then gets a bit tedious and flat in its final acts. My recommendation for this film is to enjoy as a rental and don’t fuss with the crowds at the multiplex.
Kasdan’s newest stars Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel as Annie and Jay, a married couple, who, like most married couples, stay busy juggling their careers with raising their children and managing their household. College sweethearts, Annie and Jay enjoyed a wild and passionate sex life until they married and began making babies. After several years of marriage the fiery passion they once shared has grown lukewarm. When Annie receives a lucrative career opportunity, the couple decide to ship the kids to the grandparents and celebrate at home making wild passionate love. In an attempt to spice things up some, Annie suggests that they make a video document of their sexual adventure. The following day, Jay discovers that he accidently synched the video to all of his mobile devices including some Ipads he gifted to friends, relatives and Annie’s new boss Hank (Rob Lowe).
Written by Kate Angelo, Jason Segel, and Nicholas Stoller, Kasdan’s film delivers the laughs up until the end of his centerpiece sequence which features a hilarious physical comedy extravaganza involving a German Shepherd attacking Jason Segel’s character. Everything else that follows plays out flatly and lacks the consistency of the first acts. The story and film just runs out of steam and I stopped caring about the characters. I just wanted the film to get to its happy resolution and conclusion. I gave this film three stars, simply because the film starts off so strongly and delivers the laughs. The filmmakers obviously have smart senses of humor and know how to do sex-related humor, but that only gets them so far in the movie.
As for the centerpiece, Jay and Annie attempt to retrieve the Ipad they give to Rob Lowe’s character Hank, and this entire sequence is hilariously written, superbly paced, and performed beautifully by Segel, Diaz, and Lowe. Kasdan and his crew did an excellent job with gags galore involving Hank’s home; however, they do get a little too carried away with one gag that gets run into the ground. Nevertheless, I was in tears from laughing so hard by the end of this crazy funny scene. Rob Lowe definitely needs to do more comedy, because his work in this genre often rivals that of those acclaimed for their work.
Segel and Diaz also perform well in their roles, and the film features, but sadly under-uses other talented comics such as Rob Courdry, Ellie Kemper, and Nat Faxon. There is a surprise uncredited cameo that is moderately humorous, but by that point in the film, I was already exhausted and spent from the rest of the film. I suppose that Kasdan could have made the sequence in Hank’s house part of the film’s climax and that might have made the film flow a bit better. However, as it is cut, Sex Tape loses all of its punch after that moment.
That is why I cannot recommend catching Sex Tape theatrically. Had this film been consistent in its delivery of comedy, I’d be giving it a higher rating and encouraging my readers to run out and see it. After blissfully laughing hard at the movie’s middle, I just wanted to roll over and go to sleep. I would’ve had this opportunity had I been watching it at home.