Thursday, July 17, 2014
"Who has sex for three hours? That's the length of the movie Lincoln. You did the full Lincoln." That's the usually hilarious Rob Corddry as Robbie talking to his friends Annie (Cameron Diaz) and Jay (Jason Segel), a couple who try to rekindle their once passionate sex life in the movie Sex Tape. That line got the biggest laugh at my screening. But the guffaws felt Pavlovian, like the canned laughter on a TV sitcom designed to entice the viewer into yukking it up as well. Even the very title, Sex Tape, indicates how out of step this movie is with the times. It's not a tape anymore, guys.
It's a streaming video, and in this case, it gets accidentally uploaded to the mysterious Cloud prompting Annie and Jay to repossess every iPad synced to said Cloud in order to delete the video. Of course, that turns into a excuse for Sex Tape to promote iPad and YouPorn, two curious bedfellows which might have each done themselves a favor by refusing to lend their name to the film. Sex Tape is the kind of movie that executes every trick out there to fool you into thinking it's actually more significant than it really is. The product placement makes it seem current. The line of dialogue I refer to at top was tested and re-tested by every trailer that has promoted the film up until now, explaining the robotic laughter from audiences. Diaz, an actress who has resisted nude scenes thus far, is enlisted to bare her ass more than once (and to make sure you know about it in her publicity rounds) in order to get the curious into theater seats. Heck, it's one of the reasons I was there, I admit.
But there's nothing to this ill-advised movie. It's not funny, no matter how meta the idea of signing Rob Lowe (an actor famous for his own sex tape scandal... IN 1988) for a pivotal supporting part may read on paper. A half-hour digression spent in Lowe's character's manse—contradictorily festooned with 11-inch double-sided dildos and creepy paintings substituting Lowe's face for Disney characters—doesn't make it any funnier. Getting Annie to share a bump of coke... COKE... with Lowe's eccentric billionaire only compounds the fact that Sex Tape is a movie that might have been amusing 30 years ago.
In present day, Sex Tape comes off only as a pale shadow of a much better film concerned with examining the natural dwindling of passion as young couples marry, mature, and have kids, This is 40. And even the choice of that underrated film to emulate is befuddling since it mostly appealed to such a specific niche, privileged white people of a certain age. Take away all of Sex Tape's crutches, and you'll be focused less on Diaz's nudity than the fact that it's the Emperor, I mean the movie, that has no clothes.