Being accidentally topical isn’t enough to save the aggressively unfunny Sex Tape (2014)

Clearly the reunion of the director and stars of 2011’s amusingly bawdy “Bad Teacher” was intended to replicate that film’s edginess and success. Unfortunately, the result is an egregiously foul-mouthed, unfunny sex comedy that only goes to show just how good at these kinds of movies Judd Apatow is and how tricky it is to get them right.

When Annie (Cameron Diaz) and Jay (Jason Segal) meet in college, their lives are a whirlwind passionate, constant sex but as we quickly follow them through their courtship to marriage to children (narrated by Annie’s blog) we find ourselves in that familiar territory of a couple, happily married with children, lamenting the loss of their sex lives. On a rare night without children, they decide to spice things up by filming themselves having sex but when their home movie accidentally gets synched to various devices owned by friends and family, they find themselves in a race against time to get the movie back.

First things first, Diaz and Segal (who snags a co-writer screenplay credit, suggesting a great deal of ad-libbing) do their best with the material at hand and have the decency to look uncomfortable at times with the script. Neither, however, seems to have a problem with the nudity though and, God bless him, Segal has obviously cut out the carbs and hit the gym in preparation for this movie while Diaz looks better than she did in “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” eleven years ago.

Preferring to laugh at rather than with the subjects of its comedy robs the film of an honesty that films like this need if they are to succeed. The plot is desperately contrived and the stupid premise is willfully ignorant of how the very technology it’s relentlessly pimping (Apple products! Apple products everywhere!) works. As a result, everything else just feels forced and clumsy. Surely a new record has been set for the lowest ratio of actual sexiness to number of nude/sex scenes? We weren’t expecting to see something akin to something on HD Sex Video, but still, a bit of sexiness wouldn’t have gone a miss. Even the trailered cameo of Rob Lowe as the would-be buyer of Annie’s blog descends into unfunny and credibility-stretching farce.

There’s little else for the supporting cast to do: Rob Corddry is adequate in an undemanding best friend role and Ellie Kemper plays the same character she plays in every film and TV show she’s ever been in. Only an uncredited Jack Black and a near unrecognisable Jolene Blalock (“Star Trek: Enterprise”) genuinely raise some chuckles as the owners of the YouPorn website.

In its final moments, the film tries to inject a genuine sentiment into proceedings but by then it’s far too late. For a film with so much nudity and sexual references, it’s actually surprisingly coy about sex and relationships, doing everything it can to avoid tackling anything remotely like a real issue with more ‘hilarious’ slapstick and farce. If it wasn’t for the current real-world furore about the leaked celebrity nude pictures (#TheFappening – thanks, Internet) giving this a frisson of relevancy and topicality this is a movie that despite an A-list cast would deserve an F-word reaction.


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