Review Review Comedy
Sex Tape (R21)
90 minutes/Opens tomorrow/*1/2
The story: After 10 years of marriage, Jay (Jason Segel) and his blogger wife Annie (Cameron Diaz) try to rekindle their once-amazing sexual chemistry and stamina by making a three-hour video of themselves having sex according to the famous 1972 copulation manual, The Joy Of Sex. Unfortunately, the video goes public when it is accidentally loaded onto the Internet. The pair go to very nutty lengths to erase the video.
"What is happening?" Jay, the underperforming husband (Segel), keeps asking here in abject exasperation.
He is referring to the previously insatiable, super-steamy sex drive both he and his blogger-wife, Annie (Diaz), have inexplicably lost after years of numbing marriage, work, zombie-style exhaustion and two extremely time-consuming kids.
Now, the Deed is as mythical as the unicorn.
"Maybe one day, we'll have sex instead of watching Project Runway," Jay muses wistfully.
But Sex Tape underperforms even worse than Jay himself - it is unfunny, predictable and very strenuous.
Director Jake Kasdan's 2011 comedy Bad Teacher about a gold-digging, incompetent educator, also starring Segel and Diaz, is better and more wicked.
Here, both stars (and their body doubles) prance about in bare backs and bare butts for cheap laughs.
I've always enjoyed watching Diaz as a wacky Lucille Ball Redux. But expectations, like a stressed-out father and husband's sexual urge, can fizzle out very quickly.
Maybe this is a cautionary tale about untamed technology, because Jay, working in a radio station, has a peculiar habit of giving away old iPad models to their friends, family and even the mailman. At this point, I am going: "Forget that sex tape. This dude gives away free iPads? What kind of sick freak does this?"
Or perhaps this movie may be saying something about pornography because from out of nowhere, Jack Black pops up as a porn website owner-guru spouting smutty pearls of wisdom you would sooner flush down the toilet.
But, back in 2008, Kevin Smith's sharper and cleverer rom-com, Zack And Miri Make A Porno, said all there is to say about this.
Or maybe Sex Tape is about Rob Lowe auditioning to be a scene-stealer in, say, Horrible Bosses: Part III, as he essays the weirdo cokehead boss whose house Jay and Annie sneak into to retrieve one of the iPads.
Segel and Diaz are great as pals. But as lovers, they look like two siblings caught up in an awkward smooch. Let's be frank - he has better comic chemistry with a deranged guard dog here than sexual chemistry with a defanged Diaz.
Sex Tape, caught between being an R-rated show and a family comedy, cannot decide what it wants to be.
It ends up looking like a messy extended sitcom episode needing the laugh track it deleted.