Cameron Diaz looks especially good in Sex Tape, from all conceivable angles, but unlike some of her other recent comedy vehicles (Bad Teacher, The Other Woman) this one actually offers laughs, plus a compatible costar in Jason Segel.
For a goofy, R-rated comedy the initial premise is surprisingly credible: a happily married woman writes a “mommy blog” and wistfully remembers how she and her husband used to have great sex, all the time, until parenthood took the spark (and opportunity) out of their lives. One night, with their two kids away at Grandma’s house, they try to rekindle that magic. Nothing seems to work until he proposes that they video themselves enacting every position described in Alex Comfort’s book The Joy of Sex. Unfortunately, he fails to delete the video from his iPad and it spreads like wildfire to a multitude of iPads he’s recently given to friends and acquaintances.
At this point, the movie becomes a full-out, R-rated farce: frantic, sometimes overly frantic, but often quite funny, as Diaz and Segel gingerly approach various iPad owners in the loop. One of them is Rob Lowe, a “family values” mogul who’s about to buy Diaz’s blog for big bucks—if they can only keep him from watching the video.
Much silliness ensues, but the movie rarely runs out of steam. Diaz and Segel are a good match, with Rob Corddry and Ellie Kemper as their best friends. Segel and his frequent writing partner Nicholas Stoller get screenplay credit alongside sitcom writer-producer Kate Angelo, who originated the story.
Director Jake Kasdan doesn’t miss a single laugh opportunity, and if the film is a bit ragged at times, its likable stars smooth over most of the rough spots.
Best of all, Sex Tape doesn’t wear out its welcome. With high energy and a touch of discretion (to please a wide audience and avoid an NC-17 rating) it accomplishes everything it sets out to do in an hour and a half. It may not be cinema for the ages, but it’s fun.