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Movie Beat: Jason Segel's "Sex Tape" well-meaning but deeply embarrassing
by JENNIFFER WARDELL
Jul 19, 2014 | 1675 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
© 2014 CTMG, Inc.
© 2014 CTMG, Inc.
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Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, strong language and some drug use

Written by Kate Angelo, Jason Segel and more

Directed by Jake Kasdan

Starring Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Rob Corddry, Ellie Kemper, Rob Lowe and more

Grade: 

They mean well, but you'll spend most of your time cringing.

Watching "Sex Tape," the new raunchy comedy starring Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz, is like spending time with a sweet, completely embarrassing aunt who you love dearly but talks like a sailor and tells stories you need to plug your children's ears for. You understand that her heart's in the right place, but at the same time the whole experience isn't something you want to repeat any time soon.

The plot, or in this case the set up for the wacky hijinks, is that a loving married couple have trouble getting in the mood during an evening when the kids are safely away. Eventually, they get back into the swing of things when they make a sex tape, which due to some complicated syncing justification eventually ends up on somewhere between five and 10 different iPads scattered around town. Texts are sent, the sale of a blog is in jeopardy, and hijinks ensue as the couple tries to get the iPads back and erase all the copies of the video.

The movie seems torn between being a classic marital slapstick comedy and a "There's Something About Mary" for the happily married crowd, which means that there's an equal amount of heartwarming messages and completely naked rear ends. The fact that these two types of films are generally aimed at completely different markets seems to have escaped the filmmakers.

The raunchier elements are much more obvious, including a remarkable amount of swearing and the completely random appearance of cocaine, and though we don't see the whole sex tape we are shown a series of increasingly bizarre excerpts. You'll spend most of these scenes either laughing in embarrassment or wincing in sympathy, and I would suggest refusing to let your imagination fill in any details. They won't be pretty.

Surprisingly, the movie is better the more traditional it gets, with a parent who has to outwit a conniving 14-year-old neighbor and a life lesson delivered after trying circumstances (yes, it's by a man running a porn site. But he means well). There's a sweet heart beating beneath all of the completely embarrassing sexual references, and there's something oddly positive about a happily married couple being the center of a sex comedy.

Cameron Diaz is essentially the same character she always is, though the sweeter version rather than the ruder one, and Jason Segel is possibly more mature here than I've ever seen him. Rob Corddry and Ellie Kemper are dryly entertaining as the couple's closest friends, and Jack Black is surprisingly funny in a brief guest appearance. As for Rob Lowe ... well, let's just call him interesting and leave it at that.

All in all, it's not a movie I can recommend to anybody without a warning list eight pages long and having them sign a waiver absolving me of all responsibility in case something goes terribly wrong. Some people may find it hilarious, but it's equally likely to cause almost fatal levels of embarrassment.

"Sex Tape" means well, it's true. But like that aunt, it shouldn't necessarily be let out in public.

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