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The Independent Critic

Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Rob Corddry, Ellie Kemper, Rob Lowe, Jack Black
Jake Kasdan
Kate Angelo (Story), Jason Segel (Screenplay), Nick Stoller (Screenplay)
Rated R
94 Mins.
Columbia Pictures

 "Sex Tape" Just Sort of Limps Along 

If I were to make a sex tape, I have a feeling that it would end up looking an awful lot like Jake Kasdan's new mass consumption wannabe naughty adult comedy Sex Tape, starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel as an essentially happy but burned out married couple who decide one night to try to rekindle their spark while the kids are away by performing AND filming every position in "The Joy of Sex," an endeavor that, for the record, should have taken far longer than the subsequent three-hour sex tape that resulted.

But, I already digress.

If I were to make a sex tape, it would be incredibly self-aware. I am an overweight. I am paraplegic. I am a double-amputee, and I would be constantly checking the camera to try to capture my best possible angle as if there would possibly be an angle that would make me look good on a sex tape.

If I were to make a sex tape, it would be decidedly unsexy with brief moments of laughter due to my complete and utter ineptness in all things sexually related.

If I were to make a sex tape, I would likely exhibit almost no true chemistry with my partner because, let's be honest, how many women interested in making a sex tape are going to consider an overweight/paraplegic/double amputee as a sex partner?

In short, Sex Tape is an incredibly self-aware and not even remotely involving film with brief moments of laughter where we mostly encounter uninteresting sex at bad angles with ample doses of both Diaz's and Segel's behinds and, despite regular flirtations with all-out bawdiness, there's not a full-frontal shot to be found in a film that, much like sex with this writer, usually promises a lot more than it actually delivers.

The meat, as it were, of the story involves the fact that Jay (Segel) "forgets" to erase the sex tape that he and his Annie (Diaz) have created and, even worse, has actually uploaded it to "the cloud" and onto a series of IPads that he's handed out as gifts to everyone from their best friends to the mailman to Annie's potential new boss, a family empire guru named Hank played by Rob Lowe, who seems to be the only one clearly in touch with how much potential this idea really had and who had to be cringing as he watched the bland and formulaic results unfold.

The film's best sequence, despite horrid dialogue about seeking charity donations door-to-door, involves Jay and Annie and best friends Robby (Rob Corddry) and Tess (Ellie Kemper) chasing around Hank's mansion with Jay going toe-to-toe with Hank's german shepherd while Annie sees the not so family side of Hank Piper.

Unfortunately, for every decent set-up it seems like a studio bigwig stepped in and reminded Kasdan that anything resembling actual naughtiness needed to be forsaken in the interest of making the film appeal to the masses. The final result, not surprisingly, is that Sex Tape will likely only appeal to those for whom even the hint of the word "sex" is considered naughty and for whom such a muttering already illicits a giggle. While Diaz and Segel are certainly two of Hollywood's more likable stars, and their real life friendship does add a layer of comfortable chemistry here, the two can't overcome the script that Segel penned with Nicholas Stoller that appears to be as guarded and self-aware as the film itself.

The truth is that if you want to make a film about a sex tape these days, you really need to have something original to say or you'd best make it laugh out loud funny. The world has moved along quite a bit since the controversial days when Rob Lowe's actual sex tape captured America's imagination for days. These days, practically anyone can and does make a sex tape with a $20 webcam and a Youporn account. Sex Tape might've been considered a funny film a few years back, before we'd already seen Segel's penis and watched Diaz go really bonkers as a Bad Teacher, but saddled with bad camera angles and even worse dialogue all Sex Tape really delivers is movie stars you love in a movie you won't.

© Written by Richard Propes 
The Independent Critic