I think it’s important to mention this first because my thoughts are going to sound negative enough you could easily infer I didn’t enjoy the movie. This is far from the truth as I laughed frequently throughout director Jake Kasdan’s pleasant “Sex Tape.”
Still, I must warn that this is a film devoid of surprises. The plot is so predictable that anyone who watches comedies regularly will probably be able to guess every possible surprise long before it happens.
I’m not sure Kasdan, or star/co-writer Jason Segal, was interested in creating surprises or inspiring conversations. “Sex Tape” is a pleasant comedy — no more, no less — that gets by on likable characters and funny jokes.
Segal plays Jay, a nice enough guy who is married to the nice enough Annie (Cameron Diaz). Parenthood has slowed things down in the intimacy department so, in an effort to spice things up, they record themselves.
Their recording gets out, naturally, thanks to the wonders of modern technology. There are a lot of jokes based around technology that, in 25 years, will probably sound as ridiculous as Mel Gibson’s cell phone in “Lethal Weapon” looks today. But I liked how current many of the jokes are as the film captures our tendency to struggle with the learning curve of rapidly advancing information sharing technology.
Annie and Jay set out to retrieve the copies of their “tape,” which they still refer to as a “sex tape” even though it’s a digital recording in the same way my editor says he’s going to “tape” his favorites shows (instead of “record” or “DVR” them). Married best friends Robby and Tess (Rob Corddry and Ellie Kemper) join Annie and Jay on their journey, and the chemistry between the four of them (and the always funny Rob Lowe) creates the film’s funniest sequence.
Oddly, “Sex Tape” is not half as risqué as you’d expect a film called “Sex Tape” to be. It feels, at times, like a PG-13 comedy that decided to add some spicy dialogue, random hard drug use and a lot of bare bottoms. If compared to other similar R-rated comedies (the “American Pie” series, “Bridesmaids” or “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”), it’s a very tame film.
I doubt I’ll ever watch “Sex Tape” again because there are too many funnier movies to see or see again, but I had a good time. There were three or four moments that caused me to burst into laughter. There were also three or four moments that caused me to groan.
But did I laugh? Yes, I laughed and I laughed frequently. It’s not “I’m crying and my stomach hurts” funny, but it’s just funny enough to leave you smiling.
“Sex Tape” is rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, language and some drug use.
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