Friday, March 27, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Review: ‘Sex Tape’ an X-rated tale with a PG plot

Film Review Sex Tape

This image released by Sony Pictures shows Cameron Diaz, left, and Jason Segel in a scene from "Sex Tape." (AP Photo/Sony Pictures, Claire Folger)

By
From page B2 | July 18, 2014 |

The high-concept comedies spawned by “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” need to start using birth control.

Judd Apatow’s landmark film rightfully ushered in a new era in comedy, but it has also inspired a now sizable cottage industry of thin movies (“The Hangover,” ”The Five-Year Engagement,” ”Bad Teacher,” ”Horrible Bosses,” ”The Other Woman”) with concepts boasting good titles but shallow stories.

Of these, only one (“The Five-Year Engagement”) had Apatow’s imprimatur. He and his cohorts have mostly moved on to telling stories about various seminal chapters of life — child birth (“Knocked Up”), high-school graduation (“Superbad”), young parenthood (“Neighbors”), 30s singledom (“Bridesmaids”), middle age (“This Is 40″) — and many of these make up some of the best comedies of the last decade.

“Sex Tape,” however, belongs to the former group and it marks a low point despite coming from several Apatow acolytes. It’s directed by Jake Kasdan, a consulting producer on “Freaks and Geeks” who went on to direct “Bad Teacher.” ”Sex Tape” reteams that film’s lead duo, Jason Segel (a near constant in Apatow-land) and Cameron Diaz, the always game, wide-smiling muse for what’s now been several generations of comedy.

A screwball that takes its genre literally, “Sex Tape” is about a West L.A. married couple, Annie (Diaz) and Jay (Segel), trying to reawaken their love life after years of marriage and two kids. Following failed attempts with double-knotted roller skates and new venues like the kitchen floor (“I can see my to-do list,” says Annie), they settle on making a porn for themselves that tours through the positions of “The Joy of Sex.”

In the first of many outlandish plot twists, Jay hands out his old iPads like party favors at a get-together of friends and family. Hours afterward, an anonymous text makes him realize that each iPad has their video stored on it, due to a syncing app he favors. The technological premise has already been debunked, but that’s a minor issue for the movie.

While this set-up could have gone somewhere interesting (shouldn’t the video go viral?), the screenplay by Segel, his writer partners Nicholas Stoller (the director of the far superior and somewhat similarly themed “Neighbors”) and Kate Angelo bizarrely settles for a suburban nighttime odyssey wherein Jay and Annie try to take back the iPads.

This includes a stop at their friends’ house, a similar couple played by Ellie Kemper and Rob Corddry; a visit to Annie’s prospective new boss, a family website CEO who wants to buy her blog (Rob Lowe); and a Los Angeles pornography warehouse (with a memorable uncredited cameo by Jack Black).

In short, it’s a PG plot for an X-rated story. The movie is so desperate for laughs that it resorts to gags like a chasing dog that can open doors and Lowe’s family guru doing cocaine lines with Slayer pounding. Segel’s gratuitous full-frontal nudity in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” was far funnier and more surprising than anything in “Sex Tape.” He has slimmed down notably, seemingly going for a more grown-up (and, alas, less funny) screen presence.

To its credit, there’s a lightness to the film and the performers are uniformly likable. When Kemper and Corddry appear (their couple yearns to see the video as their own turn-on), you wish the movie would stick with them and their nervous energy.

“Sex Tape” tries to somehow bridge the gap between the traditional romantic comedy and today’s porn-addled digital world. It’s a valiant effort, and there is something — though only very little — of Cary Grant’s scampering in “Bringing Up Baby” to Segel’s mishaps around the CEO’s mansion. But “Sex Tape” doesn’t sync.

“Sex Tape,” a Columbia Pictures release, is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for “strong sexual content, nudity, language and some drug use.” Running time: 95 minutes. One and a half stars out of four.

 

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
Brasher new president, CEO of Jelly Belly

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

Rio Vista singer ready for Rancho Cordova show

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Everyday life inspires model’s music

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Hosting gig for comic, birthday party on weekend schedule

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
 
Spring Fling set to return to Rancho Solano

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Kids fishing day events return

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
 
Fairfield police log: March 25, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun police log: March 25, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Lawyers dispute hoax claim, boyfriend says he was drugged

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Co-pilot believed to have purposefully crashed plane

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
L.A. river revamp to cost double previous projections

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Governor awaits $1B drought relief bill

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

US drops graphic leaflet to possible Islamic State recruits

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
AP Exclusive: Special ops troops using flawed intel software

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

State to alter ban on where sex offenders can live

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Grateful Oklahomans salvage belongings after killer storm

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Fact Check: Myths in the political roar over Common Core

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

US: Chicago-area cousins planned US terrorist attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Report: Teen says mom killed her siblings found in freezer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

House OKs bipartisan Medicare doctor bill; fate up to Senate

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Talent agency wants Matt McConaughey speaking fee secret

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

US Thunderbolt II attack planes on training in Poland

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Syrian government shells kill 18 in south, activists say

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Turmoil in Yemen escalates as Saudi Arabia bombs rebels

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Russian, American ready for a year in space

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Tunisians assure Star Wars sets safe from Islamic State

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Living

Today in History: March 27, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: March 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: March 27, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
Parents may be enabling son’s drinking and hurting his employment chances

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview March 27 to April 3, 2015

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
‘Downton Abbey’ to end after upcoming 6th season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

With ‘Downton Abbey’s coming demise, here are 5 past deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Ken Burns unravels the mysteries of cancer in PBS film

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Review: Animated alien adventure ‘Home’ lands with a thud

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Entertainment Calendar: March 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

Prep swimming preview: City teams look to make big splash

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Marleau, Niemi lead Sharks past Red Wings 6-4

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Warriors can match franchise record for wins at Memphis

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
San Diego city, county join forces on bid to keep NFL

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Labor, developers reach deal on proposed Inglewood stadium

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Italians will pull out of America’s Cup if boats downsized

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Fiancee of Aaron Hernandez to be called to testify Friday

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Stanford’s VanDerveer, Notre Dame’s McGraw to face off

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Former Germany coach Berti Vogts joins Klinsmann’s US staff

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Officials OK demolishing Irwindale Speedway for outlet mall

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Signups for Friday, March 27, 2015

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B8

 
Sharks sign 2 college players

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Top-seeded Wisconsin hangs to beat North Carolina 79-72

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
49ers waive OL Jonathan Martin after 1 season with team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Notre Dame races by Wichita State 81-70 for Elite Eight spot

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Kentucky overwhelms West Virginia 78-39 in NCAA Sweet 16

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

This date in sports history for March 27, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Mirim Lee leads LPGA Tour’s Kia Classic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Charley Hoffman takes PGA lead in wind-swept Texas Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

.

Business

Range Rover offers an exclusivity that’s rich with irony

By The Washington Post | From Page: C1

 
Google’s new CFO gets $70M for defecting from Morgan Stanley

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Bankruptcy hearing could decide fate of RadioShack

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Microsoft wants US suppliers to give employees paid time off

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Lawmakers unhappy with new fracking rules

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11 | Gallery

 
Authorities go after crooked car deals in national crackdown

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Oil prices jump almost 5 percent as tensions mount in Yemen

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
New Samsung, HTC phones coming April 10 in US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9