Friday, July 18, 2014

Movie Review: A 'Sex Tape' best left unseen

'sex tape'

Comedies, by nature, are built on the basis of justifiable implausibility. That's because life, by and large, isn't particularly funny, which requires a level of pseudo-fantasy to generate the big laughs movie goers expect.

That's why we allow a suspension of disbelief when, say, two 30-year-old men pose as high school students in the Jump Street films, or a crass teddy bear is brought to life by a child's wish in Ted. That lapse of reality gets us in through the door, in order to take us on a wild ride of shenanigans and tomfoolery.

It's unfortunate, then, when a movie has nowhere to go beyond its initial, unlikely premise. Such is the case with 'Sex Tape,' which manages to make an otherwise tight 90-minute running time feel like it's dragging on endlessly through a series of meandering and asinine sequences only sporadically punctuated by the rarest glimpses of comedic ingenuity.

Annie (Cameron Diaz) and Jay (Jason Segel) are suburban parents in a happy marriage that has lost the fiery passion of their younger years, which we see in flashback while Annie narrates the body of her latest mommy blog post. Because what R-Rated comedy about a sex tape is complete without a mommy blog sub-plot?

Jay is a loosely defined radio station manager, which is established solely to explain that because of his job he routinely upgrades to a new iPad and gives his old device away as a gift. He has apparently done this several times, because after a night of mommy-blog-related celebration produces an ill-advised recording of the pair recreating every pose in The Joy of Sex, the video in question is automatically synced to the tablets of his friends, family and mailman via the all-mysterious Cloud.

Thus begins a long and increasingly desperate attempt to retrieve all of the digital copies, which have found themselves in the hands of Annie's potential employer (a surreal and unhinged Rob Lowe) and a teenage extortionist (naturally). And along the way Jay and Annie take stock of their dwindling physical relationship providing some sort of emotional undertone for a movie whose audience will be largely comprised of teenage boys who came for the promise of seeing Diaz naked (sorry boys, backside only).

It's a bizarre amalgamation of disparate elements: part wandering heist film, part softcore skin-flick, part heart-happy love story, part mildly amusing and several parts endlessly boring. When the final evidence of their tawdry misdead is recovered and beaten with a hammer, it's an all-too-fitting end.

Grade: C+

*Sex Tape opens nationwide on Friday, July 17.

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