'Sex Tape' goes for cheap raunch and bland jokes
PHOTO BY ESCAPE ARTISTS
Where is it playing?: Downtown Centre, Park, Stadium 10
What's it rated?: R
What's it worth?: $2.00
What's it worth?: $3.00
Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz are a married couple, Jay and Annie, who, to spice up their flagging sex life, decide to make a sex tape. Unfortunately, when they wake up the next day, they discover it’s gone missing (94 min.)
Editor’s Note: This week’s Split Screen was handled by two writers from the Sun’s sister paper, New Times: Arts Editor Jessica Peña and intern Adriana Catanzarite.
Jessica: A married couple makes a sex tape. It leaks out. This is what you’ll have to endure for 94 whole minutes if you’re somehow kidnapped, held against your will, and made to watch director Jake Kasdan’s latest Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel raunch-fest, Sex Tape. The last time Kasdan paired the two together was in 2011’s Bad Teacher—an intentionally obscene movie where Diaz flounders about as a drunk, lay-about educator who whips her students into shape with the hope of getting a pay bonus so she can buy some sweet, silicone jugs. Released right on the heels of Bridesmaids, this movie was at least somewhat refreshing for creating a female character so brazen and so very, very broken. It wasn’t a great movie—not even that good—but there was some pathos there. There was a funny, angry Jason Segel as her love interest, and, there was an awkward scene of pants-on-pants stimulation. Sex Tape barely has one half of these things. Diaz and Segel play Annie and Jay, who meet in college and just can’t get enough of boning each other. Soon, Annie ends up pregnant and the two marry, pop out another kid, and—what do you know?—the fire in their relationship needs a little rekindling. Enter an iPad video feature. Inevitably, Segel’s slightly bone-headed character accidentally sends the file to nearly everyone they know (mailman included), and there you have it: an hour and a half I will never get back.
Adriana: An hour and a half we will never get back. The movie was just strange. The acting was contrived and awkward, and the plot barely made sense. It was all over the place. The only redeeming part was when Annie and Jay show up at Hank Rosenbaum’s house. Rosenbaum, played by Rob Lowe, is the CEO of some toy company in the process of purchasing Annie’s mommy blog (commence eye-rolling). And for some inexplicable reason, Annie feels the need to give him an iPad. Seriously, what is with these people giving away iPads to everyone and their mother? Anyway, while Jay is off on some drawn-out chase with a guard dog (which is just roaming freely throughout the house), Annie and her future boss jam to Slayer and snort a line of cocaine. Just your regular bonding moment. Lowe is pretty funny in this scene, although he’s slightly creepy, with his Harry Potter glasses and weird Disney art. But as good as he is, Cameron Diaz is terrible. Her version of being high just looks like she overdid it on the caffeine and inhaled some helium, which gets annoying. Fast. What makes it worse, though, is when a coked-out Annie starts berating Jay, blaming him for the mistake, saying that he’s selfish, and she’s the only person keeping their family together. However, you never actually see Segel’s character display any selfishness, so Diaz just comes off as a spiteful, horny druggie instead of an overtaxed mother.
Jessica: Well, Segel isn’t completely off the hook. The two have less chemistry than Madame Bovary and a bump of arsenic. Not to mention, he co-wrote this travesty where two parents—spoiler alert!—drag their kids out of bed to break and enter into the headquarters of the adult entertainment website, YouPorn. Charming stuff. I don’t know. The premise isn’t all that bad and the intentions are there. We get it. Marriage and sex are complicated, Rob Lowe is still handsome, and the latest iPad has really great video quality. But the scuttlebutt of it all is that Segel, Diaz, & Co. have made sex somehow, someway, boring—and worst of all, shameful. Late in the film, after the dog and the cocaine, there’s a part where the couple thinks maybe it isn’t that terrible if their sex tape remains leaked. After all, everyone does it. “It’s only natural,” Rob Corddry’s character reasons. But, no! Seconds later, they’re hell-bent on making sure that tape gets erased. They’re a happily married couple with two kids. How dare they also have an enjoyable sex life?! The whole thing is so white-washed (almost literally), that despite the adventurous intro montage (think of the Wedding Crashers bedding bit, but college-themed), this winds up being nothing more than an extended iPad commercial with Pottery Barn interiors and bland jokes that make Two and a Half Men seem fresh and avant-garde. Even the actual sex tape, which they screen at the end, forces audiences to ask the same question one of their kids poses near the beginning of the film: “When will it end?” And there aren’t even any boobs!
Adriana: And when they finally show what’s on the actual tape, it’s less raunchy and more bizarre. And gross. Like a nice, juicy shot of Segel’s butt while he’s trying to do a naked handstand. Or when he starts singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” to Diaz while wearing nothing but an Egyptian-themed thong. The whole thing made me wish that the audience could have taken shots of tequila along with Annie and Jay, because that would have made watching the stilted dialogue and half-assed plot just a little more bearable. That’s the main problem with this movie: It tries so hard to be funny. But much like Jason Segel, the jokes just couldn’t get it up.
Jessica Peña and Adriana Catanzarite do not sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” in their underwear. For other song suggestions, contact them via email@example.com.