Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Entertainment

July 17, 2014

Review: 'Sex Tape' an X-rated tale with a PG plot

The high-concept comedies spawned by "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" need to start using birth control.

Judd Apatow's landmark film rightfully ushered in a new era in comedy, but it has also inspired a now sizable cottage industry of thin movies ("The Hangover," ''The Five-Year Engagement," ''Bad Teacher," ''Horrible Bosses," ''The Other Woman") with concepts boasting good titles but shallow stories.

Of these, only one ("The Five-Year Engagement") had Apatow's imprimatur. He and his cohorts have mostly moved on to telling stories about various seminal chapters of life — child birth ("Knocked Up"), high-school graduation ("Superbad"), young parenthood ("Neighbors"), 30s singledom ("Bridesmaids"), middle age ("This Is 40") — and many of these make up some of the best comedies of the last decade.

"Sex Tape," however, belongs to the former group and it marks a low point despite coming from several Apatow acolytes. It's directed by Jake Kasdan, a consulting producer on "Freaks and Geeks" who went on to direct "Bad Teacher." ''Sex Tape" reteams that film's lead duo, Jason Segel (a near constant in Apatow-land) and Cameron Diaz, the always game, wide-smiling muse for what's now been several generations of comedy.

A screwball that takes its genre literally, "Sex Tape" is about a West L.A. married couple, Annie (Diaz) and Jay (Segel), trying to reawaken their love life after years of marriage and two kids. Following failed attempts with double-knotted roller skates and new venues like the kitchen floor ("I can see my to-do list," says Annie), they settle on making a porn for themselves that tours through the positions of "The Joy of Sex."

In the first of many outlandish plot twists, Jay hands out his old iPads like party favors at a get-together of friends and family. Hours afterward, an anonymous text makes him realize that each iPad has their video stored on it, due to a syncing app he favors. The technological premise has already been debunked, but that's a minor issue for the movie.

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