Sunday 25 July 2021

Movie Review: Sex Tape (2014)

A raunchy comedy, Sex Tape delivers on modest expectations through the story of a couple accidentally oversharing the best sex of their married life.

Married couple Annie and Jay (Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel) used to enjoy a vigorous sex life, until kids came along. Now often too busy and exhausted, they rarely have time for physical intimacy. Jay is a music producer who saves and shares playlists on numerous iPads, while Annie runs a popular mommy blog, now attracting interest from a major corporation run by Hank Rosenbaum (Rob Lowe).

When a rare opportunity arises and they have the house to themselves, Annie and Jay have trouble rediscovering their sexual spark until they hit upon the idea of filming themselves having sex and performing every move from The Joy of Sex. After the three hour marathon session, Jay delays erasing the file then falls victim to the vagaries of cloud storage and synching. Soon the sex tape is uploaded onto iPads in the hands of all their friends and relatives, plus the mailman. Annie and Jay scramble to track down all the file copies before it's too late.

Directed by Jake Kasdan and written by Kate Angelo, Sex Tape unambiguously aims for cheap laughs and mostly finds its targets. This is unfiltered adult comedy with flashes of nudity and plenty of sex, peeking behind the curtain of middle class bedrooms, all played for hit-and-miss humour with obvious stretches of improvised dialogue.

The vibe between Annie and Jay helps keep the material afloat. Diaz and Segel play to their strengths and create an in-synch couple embracing a healthy sex life, not shying away from sex's many less-than-perfect moments, working as a team, and maintaining a (mostly) even keel to try and recover the embarrassing tape. And in-between the yucks are some frank discussions about the impact of kids on married sex, and on-line pornography's prevalence and societal context.

But the thin material is often stretched and exposed. Jay's level of technological incompetence is difficult to believe, a sequence at Hank Rosenbaum's mansion alternates between funny and overcooked, while a blackmail sub-plot includes the awkward involvement of a kid.

In addition to Lowe, the supporting cast includes Rob Corddry and Ellie Kemper as Robbie and Tess, Annie and Jay's best friends. They play a prominent role and add zing to the madcap adventures. Jack Black makes a late and uncredited but noteworthy appearance, doling our unlikely relationship advice. When sexual escapades are unintentionally set loose, surprising wisdom can be found in a nondescript warehouse housing a porn empire.

All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.

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