Film Review: Sex Tape

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Sex Tape’s main ponderable isn’t, why isn’t the movie funny? That can be attributed to the lack of jokes; the film’s witless banter and duff slapstick in lieu of a heart, head and memorable lines. It’s, why does a Sony movie function as a ninety minute commercial for Apple products? Did these technological rivals strike some sort of deal and if they did, what did Sony Pictures get out of it? Perhaps they took the money from Tim Cook’s empire and thought the reduced risk was worth the interpolation from a detested foe, or maybe they read the script and realised it was such a one note premise, so lacking in vitality and comic situations, that a subdued audience wouldn’t notice. But those awake throughout will, and they’ll realise there’s more going on here than a clumsy grab at technological relevance.

It’s as if the premise was built around Apple’s business model. Jason Segel works at a music studio that’s given iPads by the dozen, year on year. He keeps the upgrades and hands the old models to his friends. In fact, there’s so many old models in circulation, though still with plenty of utility let’s not forget, that there’s even a spare for Segal’s fuckmate Cameron Diaz to hand to the man likely to buy her blog and make her a millionaireness. Why does the CEO of a tech company need a redundant iPad, you ask? Who knows. So a network of old tablets provides the technological infrastructure for what passes as a story; the accidental syncing of the couple’s relationship spicing home movie to all and sundry, naturally using an app readily available from the Apps Store.

Of course in order for this setup to be credible we have to believe that Segel, who’s clearly an Apple fetishist, having a Mac at home and free iPads to use at his leisure, wouldn’t understand that you can synch video between multiple devices, but then if he knew that it wouldn’t be necessary to explain it to the audience and the feature couldn’t be advertised. In fact, it’s not just video synching that gets a nod. Jason’s the proud owner of an iPhone and his son uses a Macbook when devising his up and coming school presentation, because it’s amazing what you can do with Apple software these days. Granted, Siri doesn’t understand Segel’s question about dealing with a dead dog, but then it’s a stupid question and not one the audience could reasonably expect Apple’s in-built assistant to answer. It’s great tech but it’s not calibrated to deal with animal humour.

In fact there’s no end to Sex Tape’s masturbation over the Apple brand. Whole scenes are built around it, such as Segel throwing his son’s iPad out of the window, fearful he’ll see the offending video, then collecting it on the path outside, noting it’s undamaged, and stopping the movie to comment on how durable it is. It’s a shame the movie wasn’t built to last quite the same way, or that no effort was employed in designing something people may wish to enjoy, but when the film’s just a delivery system for advertising there’s no reason to expend energy on tailoring the script to match the product’s alleged values. No one’s paying attention, after all.

Directed by: Jake Kasdan

Country: US

Year: 2014

Running Time: 94 mins

Certificate: 15 for occasional plot elements intruding on product placement.

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