It’s no secret that the summer of 2014 has been disastrous at the box office, with ticket sales down anywhere from 15 to 40% from last year, depending on what figures you’re looking at.
By my count (forgetting Transformers: Age of Extinction, which I’ll admit to liking more as a guilty pleasure than anything else), there’s only been one movie since mid-June (22 Jump Street) that has earned more than two stars from yours truly. And, alas, Sex Tape isn’t going to break that trend. Not by a long shot.
The latest from director Jake Kasdan re-teams him with his Bad Teacher stars, Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz. That movie was a raunchy success– nicely pushing the over-the-top envelope, without ever feeling terribly forced. Sex Tape, though, seems like a ten-year-old boy who just discovered the f-bomb and now can’t stop saying it. All day, every day.
It’d certainly be easy (and punny) to lob adjectives like “impotent” and “flaccid” at a movie about a couple whose sex tape gets accidentally emailed to their friends and family (and the couple’s crazed efforts to recover it), but that would be about as lazy as this movie is.
The screenplay, by Segel and his normally-reliable partner Nicholas Stoller (The Five-Year Engagement), along with Kate Angelo (The Back-Up Plan), is yet another of those “all-the-mildy-amusing-bits-are-in-the-trailer” fiascoes. Apparently the trio was banking on Segel and Diaz to carry the day on screen, with scattered bits of outrageousness (cocaine, a teen blackmailer, and a resilient guard dog) picking up the slack.
If you can get past the fact that the entire movie is crippled by a plot hole the size of Google’s server (our geek-tastic hero has apparently never heard of a “delete” button), then sure, Sex Tape has its moments. Chief among them (heck, really the only part that qualifies as pure comedy) is Rob Lowe’s scene-stealing turn as Diaz’s would-be boss– a family values guy… with a twist.
The rest is just a interminable volley of standard slapstick hijinks that never quite gets out of first gear. And when a surprise cameo (no spoilers!) by a comedy giant as a porn kingpin ends up serving as the movie’s voice of sanity, well– it’s enough to leave you feeling a little limp.
Sorry– couldn’t help myself.