Tuesday 2 September 2014

Review: Sex Tape

World of Blackout Film Review

Sex Tape Poster

Sex Tape
Cert: 15 / 94 mins / Dir. Jake Kasdan
WoB Rating: 2/7

More and more these days, I seem to be turning into Ronan The Accuser from Guardians Of The Galaxy. As Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel acrobatically gurned their way through an extended sex scene in the first act of this film, I actually found my brow furrowing in shock and confusion at the screen, as I wanted to stop everything right there and ask "…what are you doing?".

If there's one thing Sex Tape sells really well, it's the awkwardness, shame and overall embarrassment of watching an amateurish, ill-advised film made by people you thought you knew and respected. Cringe-inducing for all the wrong reasons, Jake Kasdan's latest film is torn between being a haphazardly strung together collection of half-written sketches, and a 90 minute Apple commercial*1. But don't worry, the saucy antics and hi-jinks capers will save things, right? Because the last time Kasdan directed Diaz and Segel in an Outrageous Comedy™, that worked out well for everybody, didn't it?

From the opening sequence featuring a "college age" pairing of Diaz and Segel (which I can only imagine was achieved by a combination of make-up, CGI and cheap fairground mirrors), through The Sex Scene™, and all the way to the point where a middle-aged couple take their two young children to break into (and vandalise) the server-warehouse of a pornography website, the whole sordid affair feels like a joke which got out of hand. By the time you insert moralising platitudes every twenty minutes (one burst of which comes from Jack Black in a career low-point as a sentimental pornographer), it's really difficult to imagine who this film is aimed at. Not raucous enough for the teen crowd, not warm-hearted enough for their parents, it's just sort of… grubby, really.

The only (and I mean only) respite comes from Rob Lowe who once again shines as the CEO of a wholesome toy company*2 who has a Disney fixation and spends his spare time listening to Slayer and doing coke. It's not a part that's expanded properly at all, but it's the only piece of bizarre fun you're likely to get out of this mess.

An exercise in poor decision making, shame and regret, Sex Tape does exactly what it says on the tin.

Is the trailer representative of the film?
It's every bit as bad; although interestingly, the film can rarely be bothered to be worse.

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?
Chortled through the Rob Lowe segment - that's about it.

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
Oh, it probably does.

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
If you pay money to see this film we can't be friends any more.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
If you like this film we can't be friends any more.

Will I watch it again?

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

And my question for YOU is…
Isn't a gobby, smartarsed kid in a Jason Segel film supposed to get a fucking good slap as his comeuppance? I thought that was The Comedy Thing? He's particularly obnoxiously written, after all...

*1 I'm not hating, I'm writing this on a Mac, but the product placement in Sex Tape almost rivals Google's in The Internship. In one "oh, fuck off" moment, Jason Segel's Jay even remarks on how robustly designed the iPad is. At a point where he's talking to himself. I kid you not.

*2 The toy company which, inexplicably, wants to "buy" Annie's (Diaz's) blog, and is then hesitant about the "racy" content, despite the film giving the impression that that's essentially what the blog is. Again, the concept is essentially a crutch for one sketch, so isn't expanded on at all, but why an actual corporation would be interested in a blog as banal and unprofessional as Annie's is inconceivable, especially as they'd have a marketing department to just replicate the tone and feel of it if that's what they wanted.
Look, if anyone knows about having a niche, cluttered, unsaleable blog, it's me, okay?

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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