A tired premise and a sheen of desperate flop sweat tanks this DOA comedy, which plays more like an ancient Playboy doodle than a full-fledged movie. Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz had unexpected, sharp-tongued chemistry in 2011’s Bad Teacher; here, they sag into married stasis as an exhausted two-kid couple whose passions have cooled. As will be obvious to anyone, they make a (barely R-rated) sex tape to spice things up. Also a no-brainer, that video will accidentally leak to the cloud, promoted as if Apple were an executive producer. A manic night of erasure and iPad reclamation fills the running time, along with an odd pit stop involving Rob Lowe as a sweet business exec and secret coke-snorting Slayer fan.
Explicit raunch was never going to be supplied, but you’d think the film could at least get it up for some cringe-inducing suburban embarrassment—those scenes are too soft. Surprisingly, chuckles do come from choice bits of parental nerdiness; one stupefied neighbor, hearing of their three-hour sex bout, compares it to the movie Lincoln. The script’s humor could have soared if channeled into a gentler vein of middle-aged self-mockery—i.e., more gags about DVR-ing Project Runway—but Segel and Diaz are too young (and too appealing) to seem believably bored by each other. Ultimately, for all its running around in the middle of the night, Sex Tape plays it remarkably coy, reaffirming love, not lust. It’s the cinematic equivalent of sleeping in the wet spot.
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