Sex continues to sell, but is it feasible that there will come a time where the general public tires of the bump and grind?
Currently, the zeitgeist of celebrity sex tapes has momentarily faded in intensity, perhaps dulled by the likes of Screech from Saved by the Bell attempting to re-kick start his career by capitalising on publicity surrounding his own contribution to the genre. In the meantime, the media circus has skipped town, and found the greener pastures of teenagers sexting to ensure the howls of moral outrage keep ears ringing.
And so, in keeping with its diminished relevance, the arrival this week of Sex Tape offers up a weary Hollywood concept, arriving a moment too late, as public interest has died down.
So, what's in store in terms of story? Not much, I'm afraid. Here married couple Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz attempt to bring some fire to their uninspired love life, by attempting every position in The Joy of Sex, and filming the exercise for good measure.
Along with the participation of Rob Corddry and Rob Lowe, things comedically couldn't go that wrong, could they? Segel has proved himself in a number of hilarious comedy outings, and Diaz revealed her comedic chops is in the likes of Something About Mary.
Sex Tape (K12)
Postman Pat: The Movie –
Step Up All In (S)
A closer look at the director, however, and the wheels begin to wobble: Jake Kasdan, he of the tepid likes of Bad Teacher and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. While he may be the offspring of the immensely talented writer-director Lawrence Kasdan (back in the limelight in recent times writing the new Star Wars flicks), his own output has been lead footed at best.
This time around, reuniting with 'Teacher' alumni Segel and Diaz once again reveals even less chemistry that they had previously, with Segel particularly disappointing, clutching desperately at any laughs he can muster.
Things start off at a crawl, with the film suffering from a flat tyre of tired, half-hearted humour that evokes cringes instead of giggles. A montage of earlier romantic trysts as a young couple fails to ignite interest, and present day dealings with the duo's children and the daily grind of family life are devoid of any punch whatsoever. Thankfully, things improve slightly as Corddry is given more screen time and room to throw in a few good one-liners.
Having accidentally uploaded their steamy coupling to the all bewildering iCloud, soon the offending material is in the hands of everyone who has received an iPad on loan or as a gift from duo.
One such person is Diaz's potential future boss, a prim and proper conservative Lowe. Ironically, Lowe successfully reinvented himself after his own sex tape nearly derailed his career in the late '80s. And so it is he who gets the film back on track with by far the most entertaining scene of the film. The revelation of his character's true self is stone cold hilarious, and is of such unexpectedly high quality, that the rest of the film almost sails by on the strength of it alone.
But perhaps to give an idea of the film's half-heartedness, Lowe's comedic brilliance is intercut with some lazy scenes of Segel snooping around his house at the same time. Been there done that. Going head-to-head with a guard dog? C'mon, how many times have we seen this?
Things wind their way to a predictable ending, as we are eventually privy to the contents of the film. Far from titillating, the scene is nothing if not downright embarrassing, as Segel drowns in a saturation of comedic desperation.
One other bone of contention has to be with the technology that stamps the film in a particular date and time. If it isn't the sex tape itself (who actually uses tape anymore?), it is the presence of the iCloud, a plot contrivance that will soon see the film gathering dust, much in the same way earlier mobile phones were once conveniently transported in a suitcase to depict cutting edge tech.
No need to get your hopes up for a sequel, or begin wondering what future tech toys will be employed to anchor the next instalment – the film bombed at the box office Stateside.
James O'Sullivan – HT
Image: The Walt Disney Company Nordic
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