Film review: Sex Tape

1138130 - SEX TAPE

How much do you really know about The Cloud? You know, that mysterious place — utilized by services such as Dropbox, iCloud, etc. — where we store digital data in order to access it across multiple devices.

For Annie (Cameron Diaz, The Other Woman) and Jay (Jason Segel, The Five-Year Engagement), the kinky couple at the center of raunchy new comedy Sex Tape, the answer is not much. And like its protagonists, the movie is more awkward and hollow than it is stimulating.

Annie and Jay are married parents of two, frustrated with their waning sexual relationship since having children. While the kids are away one evening, they decide to record themselves in the act as a way of spicing up their sex lives. The video — filmed on their iPad — is uploaded to the enigmatic Cloud and, thus, all of their devices, unbeknownst to them at the time. This is especially problematic for the couple because Jay sells iPads as part of his job as a DJ, and everyone from their best friends to their mailman has a copy of the video on their device. In a panic, Annie and Jay embark on a mission to obtain all of the iPads and erase the each copy of the sex tape before anyone can see it.

Unfortunately, it’s a conflict that would have been more effective if Annie and Jay were sympathetic in any way. But the performances from Diaz and Segel just aren’t that engaging, nor do they have any onscreen chemistry to speak of. And by the film’s tiresome climax, one couldn’t be blamed for simply not caring what happens in the end.

There’s another problem: The premise of the film is based on the idea that when a video is recorded on your mobile device (in this case, an iPad), it is automatically uploaded to The Cloud and available across all of your iPads, iPhones and Mac computers. While this premise is inherently false (Apple’s current technology allows photos to be shared automatically across all your devices via My Photo Stream, but not video), Sex Tape is able to skirt this notion because most people simply don’t know it to be true. But either way, the laughs here are too inconsistent and the story too scattershot for it to matter all that much.

There are some genuinely funny moments, however. Rob Lowe (TV’s Parks and Recreation) is typically affable as a hard-partying businessman and proprietor of one of the iPads, and several of the script’s gags are reasonably clever. But the execution of many of its best bits end up falling flat, and the film’s reliance on awkward humor befuddles more than it indulges.

Ultimately, its shortcomings and general lack of conviction are tantamount to a 90-minute head-scratcher. And in a summer severely lacking in the comedy department, Sex Tape manages to underwhelm despite its unique premise.

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