“Sex Tape” is pretty much what “The Wolf of Wall Street” would be on Casual Friday’s. The drugs, sex and language are all still present, just at a much more toned down level.
Cameron Diaz and Jason Segal star as a married couple who haven’t had as much personal time as they would like due to their two kids. So one day, in an effort to spice things up, Diaz suggests the duo makes a…sex tape! [cue applause for most inventive movie title ever] However when the tape is uploaded to the internet, they set out to destroy every copy. Jake Kasdan, who directed Diaz and Segal in “Bad Teacher”, directs here.
I went into this film hoping for the best but expecting the worst. While Jason Segal is always a likable presence, the last time he, Diaz and Kasdan teamed up was “Bad Teacher”, which was should have been entitled “Bad Movie” (ok, that one was a lob down the middle of the plate). But, to my surprise, I walked out of “Sex Tape” with a smile on my face.
Segal and Diaz have very solid chemistry together and that is obviously crucial in a comedy. They have some good back-and-forth, including several fantastic one-liners from Segal. Every supporting character lends a hand and has great give-and-take, too.
Rob Corddry and Ellie Kemper play another married couple and they have one of the best jokes in the whole film. The real show stealer, however, is Rob Lowe, who plays Diaz’s boss. In a role that breaks his normal mold, Lowe seems to be having a ball, and it’s a shame he only received 15 minutes of screen time.
What holds “Sex Tape” back, and what some people may not be able to overlook, is the script. While there are moments of true inspired comedy gems, there are also some forced jokes, and other juvenile ones that feel like they belong in an Adam Sander film. The tone sometimes shifts rapidly, too. This is probably due to there being three screenwriters credited; Segal, his writing partner Nicholas Stoller and Kate Angelo. One can assume Segal and Stoller did rewrites on Angelo’s earlier script, which would explain the sometimes messy storyline.
The film is also pretty tame, considering its plot and title. Save for an opening montage, the movie really never fully utilizes its R rating, which makes one wonder why they chose to play it so safe?
In a lot of ways, “Sex Tape” is like last year’s “We’re the Millers”; multiple screenwriters make for an uneven and bumpy trip, but you are willing to overlook most of the flaws because you are having such an enjoyable time. Plus it features a lead actress who proves that she is still very attractive, err talented. You know, at acting.
“Sex Tape” may not be for everyone, but I found it had enough laughs to warrant a viewing, and an entertaining one at that. In a summer of poor comedies (“Tammy”) and great comedies (“22 Jump Street” and “Transformers 4”), “Sex Tape” falls somewhere in the middle. If you can turn your brain off and just watch it for its entertainment value, then Segal and Diaz deliver the goods. (Upon rereading that last line, it sounded much dirtier than I intended and I apologize…)
Critics Rating: 6/10