Forgive me if I sound like a pervert but if you’re going to make a Rated R comedy called “Sex Tape,” I’m going to expect some shocking, over-the-top hilarious hijinx.
“Sex Tape” promises lots of raunch, but doesn’t deliver any of it. In fact, outside of the nude butts and some simulated sex of the two leads Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz, there really is no reason this comedy should be Rated R. The very simple premise of a married couple trying to spice up their sex life by making a sex tape sounds like it has potential, but the writing is too tame for such a bold topic.
Segel, who also co-wrote the film, appears to have been too influenced by his days on the TV show, “How I Met Your Mother,” because the entire film feels like a string of sitcom type set pieces strung together. Opportunities to shock the audience are wasted the entire way. One typical example is when the two leads visit the home of Rob Lowe, no stranger to sex tapes himself, who plays the potential future boss of Diaz’s character Annie. Sure, there’s some cocaine use and the appearance of a sex toy to earn the film’s R rating, but the majority of the laughs in this scene come from Lowe’s infatuation of Disney characters as well as Segel’s bout with an overzealous watchdog, which feels like it’s straight out of “Father of the Bride Part II.” You can’t get any more PG than that.
To their credit, Diaz and Segel give it their all and strain to make the jokes work, but there really isn’t much for them to work off of. Diaz is a comedy veteran and certainly knows how to deliver a punchline, but is unfortunately asked to do nothing more than bare her body this time. She is capable of so much more. Segel also does his best with the subpar material, but as a co-writer of the film has no one to blame except himself for the lackluster result. Even the film’s conclusion, which tries to deliver a sappy message about love, feels out of place and ineffective.
As unlikely as it sounds, it is possible to make a hard Rated R film with lots of heart. Films such as “American Pie” and even last year’s “We’re the Millers” prove that you can combine raunchy laughs with a heartfelt story. Too bad “Sex Tape” fails to stimulate.