This image released by Sony Pictures shows Cameron Diaz

Sex Tape: dull, tone deaf and not the least bit sexy

Just lie back and think of funnier films. Sex Tape reunites Bad Teacher stars Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel as marrieds Annie and Jay who are looking to get some heat back between the sheets. They make a sex video and then spend the rest of the movie trying to keep anyone from seeing it.

By Linda Barnard

Special to the Advocate

Sex Tape

1.5 stars (out of four)

Rated: 14A

Just lie back and think of funnier films.

Sex Tape reunites Bad Teacher stars Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel as marrieds Annie and Jay who are looking to get some heat back between the sheets. They make a sex video and then spend the rest of the movie trying to keep anyone from seeing it.

Back in college they were at it like rabbits. Now, with a couple of kids (Sebastian Hedges Thomas and Giselle Eisenberg) and first-world burdens like Annie trying to sell her mommy blog nibbling away at libido, they’re too stressed and tired to hop to it like they once did.

Inspired by their new iPad (one of a scandalous number of product placements for Apple products, along with a free ad for real-life user-submitted site YouPorn), Annie hits on making a sex video. They’ll use 42-year-old manual The Joy of Sex as a guide, going at it Julie & Julia style, page by page.

If you’re seeking titillation, you won’t find it here among the comic flailings and body slamming that resembles a sloshing tub of squid more than erotica. But it is good-looking squid, thanks to Diaz’s perky posterior and the newly trim Segel.

Frustratingly, director Jake Kasdan (Bad Teacher), along with screenwriters Kate Angelo, Segel and Nicholas Stoller (who teamed with Segel to pen The Muppets) seem unsure what kind of movie they want to make.

The confusion shows up onscreen in a sitcom-style effort that has a few funny lines (there’s a good Siri zinger) and even less sex or examination of the humiliating repercussions of a homemade porno spilling into the world.

That spillage happens to Annie and Jay thanks to a syncing app he’s installed for music and a wrinkle in the Cloud that downloads their romp onto all of his used iPads that he has generously gifted to everyone from her parents to the mailman.

It’s a plot device that’s been pretty much debunked but points for trying to update the old stealth emails trope.

Friends Tess (Bridesmaids’ Ellie Kemper) and Robby (Rob Corddry of Hot Tub Time Machine) offer to help gather the iPads, including one that has landed in the hands of Hank, the toy company exec Annie hopes to work for. He’s played by Rob Lowe, who knows a thing or two about sex tapes.

The mission through Hank’s mansion is pure slapstick as Annie discovers the freaky side of her possible boss while Jay hunts for the device and deals with a determined German shepherd while getting to make an epilepsy joke.

A final assemblage involving Jack Black, pit bulls and a roomful of computer servers doesn’t fit in at all. Ditto a dumb final encounter with a larcenous preteen.

And as for the mailman, who is teased over and over, it’s a joke with no payoff, forgotten in the mayhem.

It’s been done before — and perhaps slightly better by Kevin Smith as Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Smith at least wasn’t afraid to let his freak flag fly in taking on a sexy subject, even if it was often painful to watch.

It’s disheartening to see such lacklustre work from actors who are capable of much better. Diaz is a fine comic actress (There’s Something about Mary) and Segel has a lovely, loopy everyman way about him (I Love You, Man, The Muppets). It’s all wasted here.

As for Sex Tape, not tonight, dear. Or any other.

Linda Barnard is a syndicated Toronto Star movie critic.

Just Posted

Alberta hiring more paramedics and buying new ambulances, none for Red Deer

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer is not concerned the provincial government didn’t… Continue reading

‘My nightmare began again’: Close call as bus carrying Humboldt crash survivor rear-ended

CALGARY — A terrifying ordeal for Humboldt Broncos survivor Ryan Straschnitzki this… Continue reading

Halifax airport operations normalize after Boeing 747 runway overshoot

HALIFAX — The Halifax Stanfield International Airport has resumed normal operations a… Continue reading

Bentley family left without a home grateful for community support

Central Albertans are coming together to support a Bentley family left homeless… Continue reading

Red Deer RCMP ready for new mandatory alcohol screening law

Red Deer RCMP are ready to enforce a new law intended to… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer and District Kennel Club Dog Show at Westerner Park

The Red Deer and District Kennel Club is holding a dog show… Continue reading

Brothers, 20, face second-degree murder charge in death of teen: police

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Police west of Toronto say two brothers have been… Continue reading

A young mayor, his friend, and a fatal attraction to opioids

MOUNT CARBON, Pa. — Janel Firestone found her son — the 24-year-old,… Continue reading

GM fights to retain key tax credit amid plant closing plans

WASHINGTON — General Motors is fighting to retain a valuable tax credit… Continue reading

TTC union asks provincial government to step in on transition to Presto

TORONTO — The union representing transit workers in Canada’s most populous city… Continue reading

Small pot growers find roadblocks on path to microcultivation licences

Yan Boissonneault’s daughter was turning blue. Without warning, his baby had stopped… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $60 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — There was no winning ticket for the $60 million jackpot… Continue reading

In Hollywood of Mississippi, voter fraud like a movie script

CANTON, Miss. — In a town that calls itself the Hollywood of… Continue reading

Trump picks Army chief of staff as next top military adviser

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump announced Saturday that he’s picked a battle-hardened… Continue reading

Most Read