What do you do when your sex life has been eradicated due to the routine that comes with children and the general chaos of life?This is the thesis of Jake Kasdan’s new film, “Sex Tape” starring Cameron Diaz , Annie and Jason Segel as Jake.
Annie is in the process of selling her wholesome blog on parenting to a company (which prides itself on a clean image) meanwhile Jake works doing sound mixing and gives out tablets as gifts to friends, neighbors and even their postman.
The entire premise of this movie weighs on the one night when the two of them try to get back their passion, fail miserably and in then in an attempt to rekindle it, go whole hog by filming themselves. Jake promises to delete the tape, but instead it gets sent into the ether that is “the cloud”. After Jake receives a mysterious vm saying, “enjoyed your video xxoo” Jake and Annie scramble to get back all the tablets he has given away before Annie’s boss, Hank, Rob Lowe, finds out (thus sabotaging her ability to sell her blog).
The good news about this film is that it does have some humorous moments and it does not fall into some obvious traps, much to the good judgement of the writers (Kate Angelo, Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller). Additionally, it allows our protagonists to be so desperate that they make mistakes due to their fears, which are reasonable and believable.
However, like the title itself, the characters are not even skin deep when it comes to who these people are and what makes them tick. Yet, let us put that aside, because given that this is a comedy, we need to know that this is about the gag, and not necessarily the people surrounding it. In other words, forgive them this, because it is the idea of what would happen if this happened to you, that is important, not the characters who are truly props for the story.
Thus, if we allow that this is about the sex tape and not a character study, and have no expectations regarding who these people are, we will then be able to approach it from the other angle which is, does this shtick work? Can we believe it?
To a point, however, Cameron Diaz, Annie, spends far too much time in the beginning laying out the ground work for the story, in one long narration, which is supposed to be in her blog. Surely, they could have used this time better (about twenty minutes) to show us what she was talking about (especially given that this is a physical comedy, and it would have been more than apropos) rather than say it. It is here she could have clearly delineated what it was about Jake that really attracted her, besides having sex. Did they have any common interests?
From the preamble here, one gets the feeling that they banged all the way through college, and then she got pregnant, they married and that was the end of her life. This of course illustrates quite well what Annie’s father says when they announce they are getting married and having a child and he comments that that will be the end of their sex life. What it sounds more like is that he is portending the end of their relationship, because children and responsibilities will so consume them, that in effect what they had will die.
This is a bleak assertion, and one which also connotes the notion that women in particular give up more after they get married. Jake still has a job but Annie does not; this subdivision of labor is more akin to a household of the fifties than those of today. Furthermore, the idea of selling her blog, while important to her is never portrayed as something which is imperative to the financial stability of their family. In fact the idea of her having a job is depicted more like it is a hobby than something which has real income value.
This is not to say that the film is not fun; it is. It is just that one has to expect that this is a comedy, and it is comedy which has one note throughout it, thus there are no real highs and lows, and no real texture that defines who these people are. If make you allowances for that, then the little surprises along the way, will still make you smile and even at times, think how very clever they are.