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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 18 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 29
Bawdy Sex Tape a funny marital comedy
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Bawdy Sex Tape a funny marital comedy

by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

SEX TAPE
Now playing


Before they were married, Jay (Jason Segel) and Annie (Cameron Diaz) had a lot of sex. About a decade after their nuptials, not to mention a pair of cute-as-a-button children, boy Clive (Sebastian Hedges Thomas), girl Nell (Giselle Eisenberg), it's no surprise the twosome just don't have the time to get playful in the bedroom as they once did. To reignite that spark Annie comes up with the alcohol-induced bright idea of making a playful video of the both of them acting out all the positions diagrammed in The Joy of Sex, three hours of carnal bliss subsequently ensuing.

Jay was supposed to erase the video. He forgot. A couple of accidental miscues later and suddenly a bunch of people, including Annie's mom Linda (Nancy Lenehan) and best friends Roddy (Rob Corddry) and Tess (Ellie Kemper), inadvertently find themselves in possession of iPads containing the pair's naughty canoodling. The duo are now in the position of having to run all across town in a fervent attempt to erase every copy before someone uploads it to the Internet where it will undoubtedly remain for perpetuity, coming to stark, somewhat sudden realizations about the status of their own marriage in the process.

Sex Tape reunites stars Diaz and Segel with their Bad Teacher director Jake Kasdan, and in all honesty the results are even more positive here than they were that moderately successful first time around. The movie doesn't offer up a lot that's new or unexpected, and its observations about life, love, marriage and parenthood are hardly original, but that doesn't make the overall comedy itself any less enjoyable. Thanks to the energetic and infectious chemistry of its two stars, as well as some more than able, oftentimes ingenious support from Corddry, Kemper and especially an all-in Rob Lowe, the film is quite funny, that in and of itself enough to make it worthy of a look.

The script, originally conceived by Kate Angelo (The Back-up Plan), co-written by Segel and frequent partner Nicholas Stoller (The Muppets, The Five-Year Engagement), is an amiable hoot most of the way, and while there are some sitcom-like idiosyncrasies that can be a bit trying, overall there's a nice, almost effortless simplicity to Jay and Annie's escapades that's sublime. At times the movie almost feels like a sex-obsessed riff on the 1985 Jeff Goldblum/Michelle Pfeiffer classic Into the Night (absent that one's bracing, darkly satirical wit, I sadly must admit), everything taking place in a rough 24-hour period where anything and everything can occur no matter how insane.

There are some lumps, some of them obnoxiously frustrating, while the central 'villain' (it's really hard to call the individual that, but I can't think of another term that fits) of the piece doesn't end up being anywhere near as surprising or as crazily earth shattering as I think the filmmakers intend. The early portions are particularly annoying, the movie starting on something of a leaden foot that it sadly takes a little time to get past.

Get past it it does indeed, however, Sex Tape evolving into a series of reasonably inspired vignettes featuring Jay and Annie going place to place trying to get back the corrupted iPads. Both Segel and Diaz gamely go for broke, neither afraid of looking like complete and total idiots as they come up with increasingly insane ideas they think are required in order to keep their video off the Internet. It all culminates in the high-tech corporate headquarters of a loquacious porn kingpin, the resulting revelations happening in his presence both hysterical and touching, both virtually happening at the exact same time. Like I said, this is a funny movie, and at the end of the day ultimately that's the only positive that matters.

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