Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel head up a slapstick heavy sex comedy that's light on laughs
Few sub-genres are as moribund as the sex comedy; since the 70s, audiences rarely seek laughs and voyeurism at the same time, and certainly not at the cinema, with dedicated internet sites allowing them to indulge both humour and libido in private.
Given the social unacceptability of the format, Sex Tape – which sees director Jake Kasdan re-teaming with his Bad Teacher stars Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel – at least offers an interesting premise: when their homemade sex-film goes unexpectedly viral, a couple’s bond is tested as their private pleasures become public entertainment.
Annie (Diaz) and Jay (Segel) are happily married with kids, but the mojo has recently vanished from their previously prolific sex-life. Annie proposes they spice up their bedroom activities by recording their performance on his iPad, but an accidental sync sends the three-hour film to several other devices (Jay and Annie are the kind of generous couple who gift their mailman an iPad). They then go through various hoops to retrieve the devices, while figuring out how to get all online evidence of their activity removed.
Sex Tape explores a modern idea in a decidedly old-fashioned style, opting for slapstick all the way, with the main set-piece involving Annie attempting to distract her boss Hank (Rob Lowe) while Jay searches his house, with a pursuing dog falling foul of a treadmill the apex of the ingenuity involved.
A late cameo from Jack Black as a porn baron steals the show in this surprisingly weak entry. Diaz does her best, but Segel (who co-wrote the screenplay with Kate Angelo and Nicholas Stoller) seems to have lost his charm in the course of his dramatic weight loss, and quirky supporting players like Rob Corddry and Lowe have little to do. Sex Tape is brisk but annoyingly light on laughs, a slight fumbling of an idea that deserved a more rigorous exploration.
General release from Wed 3 Sep.