Film Review – Sex Tape (2014)

Jay (Jason Segel) and Annie (Cameron Diaz) in Columbia Pictures' SEX TAPE.

In the world of pop culture debauchery and perverse criminality, never has a film been timelier. Even as the most intimate photographs of every actress under the sun pour out across the internet and onto hard drives around the world, Jake Kasdan must be thanking his lucky stars as he releases his own piece of videotaped depravity onto significantly larger screens.

Good timing is almost certainly the only thing of note regarding Sex Tape, a film so belligerently tiresome and gratuitously dull it gave me a splitting headache despite a meagre running time of just 94 minutes.

Things get off to a lamentable start with a prolonged fuck-montage in which college couple Annie (Cameron Diaz) and Jay (Jason Segel) viciously jump each other’s bones at every opportunity. In the library, in the car park, under a tree, there’s no place these libidinous youngsters won’t go for a quick shag. Annie, a professional Mumsnet-esque blogger is fondly remembering her university days and the accompanying rampant sex-life as she drearily updates her presumably avid followers with reminiscences of the ferocity and regularity of Jay’s mighty erections. It dawns on her though that, after two kids and a decade of marriage, her formerly-appreciated and regularly-hammered vagina has been a little underutilised of late and she resolves to make more time in which to hump her husband (who happens to be a record producer – or something).

As a way of adding some spice to their marital congress, the couple decide to film it on Jay’s new iPad; but the big dummy accidentally uploads it to his iCloud and shares it with a selection of colleagues, mates and family-members that are in possession of his old, obsolete tablets. And so the couple embark on a madcap dash to retrieve the iPads and delete their sex tape before any of their acquaintances have the chance to view it.

Watching Sex Tape is a thoroughly miserable experience. As a romping piece of bawdy smut it utterly fails to trouble any comedic mark as it’s far too polite for its own good. An endless, tedious parade of bashful arse shots clutter the first half of the film in the name of indecency when what it needs (literally) is some bollocks. The second half, Jay and Annie’s quest to retrieve the tape, quickly descends into a baffling mess of skittish vignettes in which Jason Segel batters a dog, Cameron Diaz snorts cocaine, the pair try to break into the offices of YouPorn and the audience becomes hopelessly depressed.

To look into Jason Segel’s eyes is to behold a man bereft of vitality and those eyes devoid of sparkle. Segel helped write this mess and, as he chirps out every line with the same look of bemusement on his thin face, appears to be dying of embarrassment as the full weight of his naivety dawns on him. Diaz, to her credit, races through the fiasco with the laissez-faire indifference of a woman who has long since given up the pretence of being a serious artist.

One moment of common sense comes as Annie fretfully states: “We will never speak of this again” before announcing her desire to consume Aspirin. It’s the single moment of clarity in a debacle which ranks as one of cinemas most wretched and utterly monotonous comedic disasters.

Chris Banks

Sony Pictures Entertainment
Release Date:
3rd September 2014 (UK)
Jake Kasdan
Jason Segel, Cameron Diaz, Rob Coddry, Ellie Kemper, Rob Lowe