Jason Segel comes across as an intelligent filmmaker. Remember Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which he wrote as well as acted in? Then there are the movies that he has executive-produced, as well as written, such as The Muppets, The Five-Year Engagement and Get Him To The Greek - he has acted in all of them, too. And who can forget his long-running role as Marshall Eriksen in the hit series How I Met Your Mother? A well-rounded, talented young man with oodles of humour and the ability to laugh at himself, you think, and wonder why we do not have more of his kind in the film industry.
Which is why, when you hear that he has executive-produced, co-written and acted in the rather obviously titled Sex Tape, you have enough reason to check it out. The bigger draw, of course, is Cameron Diaz, but film buffs will be attracted to the fact that the talented, awkward Jason Segel is involved with the movie. This time, however, he does not manage to hit jackpot.
Jay (Jason Segel) and Annie (Cameron Diaz) used to make love all the time, all over the place, in all positions. When they began dating, they realised that they were soulmates, and therefore married quickly. That was, however, a few years ago. Two children later, Annie can only reminiscence about her wonderful sex life in her blog. Jay himself knows he wants to have sex with his wife, but both are always so tired that they just about manage a perfunctory kiss and an "I Love You".
So when Annie's blog is shortlisted for a tie-up with a children's brand, she decides to celebrate with a bit of wildness. Or, at least, try to relive her wild days with Jay. And they find that they both have almost forgotten how to do it like in the old days. Annie then comes up with the idea of videotaping their sex sessions on Jay's iPad, and they even use a book on sex for ideas.
What Jay, who works for a music company, completely forgets is that all his newest electronics are automatically updated, in terms of content, with his older devices. And unfortunately, he has given away his older iPads to friends and family, and to the mailman.
When Jay receives a text message from an unknown number telling him that the video has been appreciated, he does not know just how to react. First, he has to tell Annie, who had specifically told him to erase the video. And second, how is he going to ascertain that more people do not see the video?
In a night's adventure that involves crashing at a friend's private party, landing up unannounced at Annie's prospective boss's doorstep pretending to be a part of a charity organisation, breaking into an office building and being threatened by the most unexpected villain, Jay and Annie rediscover their love for each other, and also that sometimes, people are not always who they seem. Will they, however, destroy copies of the sex tape?
The initial part of the story begins on an interesting note. You know that when the voiceover of the lead actor speaks wistfully about days gone by, the present cannot be very exciting. Both the actors playing the couple are only obsessed in sleeping with each other. Some of the dialogues in this montage of various sexual acts make the intensity less severe, and also cleanse the content of any pre-conceived notions of vulgarity.
The story loses steam once it comes back to the narrator's present. Of course, the idea is to highlight the monotony is what once used to be an exciting relationship, but not much happens in terms of plot. For somebody who is very concerned about her public reputation, Annie is shockingly calm when she realises that the sex tape may be missing. The characters never seem sure of how to react to situations, and their indifference is pretty annoying. The humour, like the story, also seems stretched after a point, since the screenplay does not concentrate on high points of drama or action.
The story becomes predictable pretty soon, and it becomes difficult to figure out whether this is a sex comedy or a romcom. Unrelated and irrelevant twists in the plot do not help revive whatever excitement the beginning of the movie promised you. As for the protagonist, the whole set-up is pretty ludicrous, and the resolution, therefore, is not only weak, but also absurd.
Jason Segel shines through this farce in places. He makes lechery look innocent, and is pretty good at what he does. He does appear less than interested, though, in the role that he wrote for himself. Cameron Diaz seems confused about what exactly her character is, and fumbles through her lines. There is zero chemistry in the relationship she has with Segel's character, and that dims whatever little spark there may have been in the story.
The other actors do their bits, but Rob Lowe plays his character quite unconvincingly. Ellie Kemper is wasted. She does laugh and act startled once in a while, but does not have much to do otherwise.
The production design and the costumes are very generic. Both lack character. The camera work is clever, given that none of the sex scenes looks vulgar. The editing is fine, but in India, where the movie is heavily censored, the transitions may seem uneven and ineffective.
Sex Tape is not a film you would want to watch in a theatre. Even if you are a Jason Segel fan. If you are curious about the title, do not be. There is no titillation, nor is it a particularly clever movie.