We’ve all had those moments, be they at work or school, in which time is seemingly at stand still. I had one of those moments during a recent screening of Sex Tape, a film so dreadfully unfunny that it doesn’t even carry the distinction of being anti-comedy. It was seemingly the longest 90 minutes of my life. Now our steadfast editor, R.C. Samo, already had his say on this dismal film, however, I feel the need add my two cents, which equates to a penny for each mild chuckle the film induced.
Bill Waterson, the creator of Calvin & Hobbes, has said, “Repetition is the death of magic.” You could just as easily swap magic for comedy and the saying would be just as true. If you were to miss a gag in Sex Tape don’t worry, because it will be repeated again and again and again. But repetition alone isn’t the only problem here, the film fails to go far enough. There’s nothing shocking, no gross out moments. It’s intended to be raunchy but it’s remarkably tame.
Annie and Jay (Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel) are a married couple who’ve lost the sexual flame. Back in the day, they were fuck-machines, humping anywhere and everywhere. In an attempt to reinvigorate their sex life, they decide to make a sex tape. What follows is so convoluted and asinine that it seems like a willing assault on the suspension of disbelief. Jay gets 2 new iPads with every new model that comes out. He places his music collection on one iPad with the other serving as a backup, and gifts his old ones to the people in his life, including the mailman. Why he doesn’t place all his music on a desktop or external hard drive is never given a moment of thought. Anyways, their sex tape is loaded into the cloud through some MacGuffin app called Frankensync, which allows Jay to share his music collection with the people he’s provided iPads for – apparently file sharing is totally cool if it’s only music, not movies. Annie and Jay must track down all of the iPads in order to delete the video, which may undermine Annie’s proposed sale of mommy blog to a wholesome children’s company.
The film is filled with minor bewildering moments that I’m unsure if they’re intended to be jokes or not. Annie and Jay, along with their friends, throw a party for their children’s 4th grade graduation. Outside of one snarky line by Robby (Rob Corddry), this is all handled like it’s perfectly normal, right down to a graduation ceremony at the end of the film.
This summer’s two previous releases by Sony – 22 Jump Street and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – feature characters using nothing but Sony electronics. In Sex Tape, also released by Sony, the film relies heavily on an Apple-centric plot. Segel’s character makes passing statements about the quality of the camera on the iPad and the products durability. R.C. was convinced those were jokes, but I’m not so sure. Maybe that’s a tell-tale sign of a horrid comedy – nobody can agree where the jokes end or begin.
Cameron Diaz provides a wretched performance and Jason Segel has never been worse. I like Segel. With his writing partner Nicholas Stoller, Segel helped revive the Muppets and wrote the excellent Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Here, Stoller and Segel working with Kate Angelo, they’ve written a film that is reliant on lazy pop culture references than anything resembling jokes. Though he’s directed one of my favorite comedies of recent memory, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, director Jake Kasdan shows no vision. This film has the visual language of someone who got through the first chapter of Film 101 – shot/reverse shot, and that’s it.
Between Sex Tape and The Purge: Anarchy, this weekend is seeing the release of the two worst films I’ve seen this year – I can’t decide which one is actually worse. If you’re planning on seeing a movie this weekend go see Life Itself, Boyhood, Snowpiercer, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, or see if Edge of Tomorrow is at your local bargain theater. Hell, you could stare at an anthill for 90 minutes and get more laughs than Sex Tape.