Sex Tape – Review

Worth seeing: if you want a silly sex farce that's about as far from any sense of reality as the most outrageous fairytale
Director:Jake Kasdan
Featuring:Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Ellie Kemper, Giselle Eisenberg, Harrison Holzer, Jack Black, Nancy Lenehan, Nat Faxon, Rob Corddry, Rob Lowe, Sebastian Hedges Thomas
Length:94 minutes
Certificate:15
Country:US
Released:3rd September 2014

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Annie (Cameron Diaz) and Jay (Jason Segel) used to have the most wild and crazy sex life but the arrival of two children has left them in a position where, much as they want to, they just never have time for any time with each other.

When they finally manage to set some time aside, they realise that it’s not as easy and natural as it used to be. In fact, everything they try falls flat – until Annie suggests that they film themselves – that seems to reinvigorate them.

The following day, a text from an unknown number suggests that someone else has seen the film.

It turns out that through his job in radio, Jay is always getting new iPads, so he gives the old ones away to friends and family, complete with his music playlist. But it hadn’t occurred to him that the songs weren’t the only files on his own computer that got synched to all the iPads.

Realising what’s happened, Annie and Jay set off to try to round up all the iPads they’ve given out to get them back so that they can delete their sex tape – before anyone posts it online.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

The first thing to say is that there are some nice comic performances here – particularly from Jason Segel and an entertaining supporting turn from the ever reliable Rob Lowe – making it an enjoyable enough watch.

But narratively, it’s simply nonsense. Anyone who understands the concept of synching computer files between multiple devices – which Jay clearly does, since he’s sharing his music playlist with everyone he knows – would also be aware of the dangers that any file they save, such as a sex tape, would also be shared to the same devices. He should also know that if he deletes a file manually from one of the devices – if indeed he even can – it would return as soon as the system next synchs the data. Furthermore, it would follow that all they’d have to do would be to wipe it from their main computer or untick a box and then re-synch and it will disappear from all the other devices.

But this apparently technical naivety is crucial for a knowingly anachronistic plot that sends the main characters on a physical mission to round-up all the iPads from everyone from Annie’s mother to Jay’s best friend (Rob Corddry) and Annie’s supposedly prudish new boss (Rob Lowe).

The film-makers also seem to miss a few tricks, setting up some potentially good gags that don’t ever pay off.

It’s always nice to see Jack Black turn up for a cameo, and while his character is entertaining, his part of the story is utterly unconvincing. And the final confrontation between Jay and the mystery texter is far too weak to qualify as a suitable denouement for such a film.

The prudish BBFC have perhaps surprisingly rated this 15. OK, so it’s a very light and breezy comedy that doesn’t feel like it should be restricted to adults, but 18 certificates are usually handed down to anything with any sex or drugs content at all – here, we have two characters getting a lot of harmless enjoyment from cocaine while the whole premise is about kinky sex and amateur pornography.

Having said that, apart from the occasional buttock, viewers won’t see much sexual detail – and, here’s another Hollywood convenience – when we get treated to a few shots from the sex tape itself you don’t actually see anything; firstly, it’s not something that would be so horrifically embarrassing that you couldn’t let anyone else see at any cost and secondly, if the couple were filming a private sex session, apparently by propping up their iPad against their laundry basket, how do they manage to change the angle, zoom in or otherwise change the shot?