Sex Tape

July 18, 2014 by  
Filed under Cody, Reviews

Starring: Jason Segel, Cameron Diaz, Rob Corddry
Directed by: Jake Kasdan (“Bad Teacher”)
Written by: Kate Angelo (“The Back-Up Plan”), Nicholas Stoller (“The Five-Year Engagement”) and Jason Segel (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall”)

As far as nightmare scenarios go, it’s hard to imagine a fate worse than having a homemade sex tape being surreptitiously uploaded to a place where all of your friends and family can have it at their fingertips. It is a scenario that is, of course, technologically impossible, haphazardly thrown together and explained in the laziest way possible, a recurring theme in the new comedy “Sex Tape.”

In an effort to pull themselves out of a marriage that lacks in sex, Jay (Jason Segel) and Annie (Cameron Diaz) decide to film themselves during their most intimate moments. As they go to sleep, the video uploads itself to the Cloud and becomes available for all of their friends and family to view. In a panic, Jay and Annie go on a hunt to find and remove every copy of the video that exists.

In order to come up with a way that this ridiculous turn of events could have happened, screenwriters Kate Angelo, Nicholas Stoller and Segel invent an absurd circumstance in which, for whatever reason, Jay gives out an abundance of iPads to his friends, family and, in a joke repeated to death, the mailman. It’s the first in a series of baffling plot points that, despite tons of expositional dialogue, clearly don’t reflect how real life works. Is it really important that comedies be 100 percent factual? Probably not, but it is bothersome enough to be a distraction.

“Sex Tape” also falters by spending far too much time in places it shouldn’t. One example is in a scene involving Diaz and Rob Lowe in which Segel battles a dog. It’s a sequence that feels like it takes up half of the movie and has very little payoff other than a few bits of physical humor. As a result, supporting characters like the one played by Rob Corddry take a backseat and barely get a chance to do anything, despite some funny lines early on.

To their credit, Segel and Diaz go all out when it comes to piling on the sexual content, though there is almost always a completely PG-13 style of blocking nudity or anything too graphic. The film is very reliant on a mix of sexual dialogue and physical humor for laughs with the former being slightly more successful, though most attempts at humor miss the mark regardless.

Technological issues aside, the plot of “Sex Tape” becomes repetitive as the duo goes out of their way to remove every shred of evidence of their sex tape, only to have a far easier explanation explained to them. “Sex Tape” isn’t a completely unfunny movie, but the over-reliance on gross-out sexual humor is its ultimate downfall. Segel and Diaz are clearly having fun here, but perhaps the events of “Sex Tape” are better served as a hypothetical “What If” conversation with friends.

The Back-Up Plan

April 26, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Alex O’Loughlin, Michaela Watkins
Directed by: Alan Poul (debut)
Written by: Kate Angelo (debut)

If romantic comedies starring Jennifer Lopez are movies you actually find amusing (“The Wedding Planner,” “Maid in Manhattan,” “Monster-in-Law”), then you’re probably programmed to eat up something as frothy as “The Back-Up Plan.” For those with a more discriminating taste, J-Lo’s latest only proves one thing: Lopez can definitely command a screen, but without any back-up from anyone in production, all that’s left is a predictable, poorly-written rom com with zero chemistry between the leads.

In the film, Lopez plays Zoe, a New York City pet store owner who wants nothing more than to have a baby. Single – and without any real suitors – Zoe decides the best way to get pregnant is to go through artificial insemination and raise a baby on her own. What would a cheesy mainstream romantic comedy be, however, if that’s all “The Back-Up Plan” intended to serve up?

The eye-rolling twist comes early when Zoe meets Stan (Alex O’Loughlin), the man of her dreams, on the same day she goes in for the medical procedure. The rest of the film is a cake walk. Zoe and Stan start their courtship and fall in love in standard two-day movie time when Stan invites to spend some time with him at his goat farm. Yes, his goat farm. Soon, Zoe must fess up and tell Stan that she’s has some baggage in the form of a bun in the oven. Will the news send Stan racing for the exit or is he in the relationship for the long haul?

Riddled with dreadfully cliché dialogue and some pregnancy jokes that are simply unfunny (Jo-Lo falls into a wading pool right after a woman has a water birth), “The Back-Up Plan” is an unrealistic look at love, the miracle of birth, or any of the other topics first-time screenwriter Kate Angelo lazily tries to pass off as entertainment.