Comedy is proving to have solid legs this summer (with the unfortunate exception of “A Million Ways to Die in the West”). “Neighbors” is winding down its run, and “22 Jump Street” and “Tammy” are still trudging along. The biggest common thread of the comedies this season has been a mature rating. In lieu of reaching a broader audience with PG-13, studios hope for another “Hangover” size hit. But on a smaller scale, whenever a mid-range budgeted film strikes $100 million, the tally beyond that is usually bragging rights.
The latest tale of restricted rating filmgoing is “Sex Tape.” Anchored by Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz, the film follows a couple attempting to spice up their love life. Between working and two kids, Jay (Segel) and Anne (Diaz) find themselves too tired or busy to have sex. On the verge of a major job opportunity for Anne, the two discover a night to explore the passion they long neglected. After a few bland ideas, the two decide to perform every position from the Kama-Sutra-like book “The Joy of Sex.” After tequila begins to flow, the two opt to film the feat on one of Jay’s iPads.
The next morning finds Jay and Anne with a personal sex tape being uploaded and sent to friends, family, and more. Once the video is discovered to have left the privacy of their tablet device, the couple begins a madcap journey to eliminate every copy of the video and preserve each other’s dignity.
By having Segel and Diaz reteaming with director Jake Kasdan, it appeared to be the same raunchy, hilarious farce follow-up “Bad Teacher.” Though the film focuses heavily on sex, it doesn’t really explore the potential extreme that such a scenario allows. The leads are game for absurdity that delivers plenty of laughs, which come often in the 90-minute runtime. A much appreciated thank you to the filmmakers for avoiding the latest trend of an overlong Act III and resolution. By keeping the script tight and lean, the story moves quite fast. But underneath the gags and punchlines, the movie has a lot to say about intimacy. Though it shrouds it under jokes, “Sex Tape” is comedy that really relates to and explores the family dynamic of a marriage. Even if this movie was just a wild, brainless ride, it’s still an enjoyable one. 3 out of 5 stars
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