Jake Kasdan’s Sex Tape purports to be a comedy about how personal computing devices and next-level phones affect intimacy between lovers, but its insights into sex, marriage, and parenthood in our digital age are toothless. iPads are owned by nearly every character and used by married couple Jay and Annie (Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz) to tape a three-hour sex-a-thon—in a bid to spice up their love life—that’s soon uploaded to numerous other iPads via the Cloud. As this sluggish comedy progresses, and its jokes become increasingly repetitive and insufferable, the iPad (and the Cloud) remains such a ubiquitous focus of the story that Sex Tape comes to feel like an instruction manual and advertisement for the Apple brand. Indeed, Annie works as a blogger, continuously typing away on her MacBook, while Jay uses his various tablets and apps to synch music playlists for work, but there’s little sense of how Jay and Annie’s careers and social lives have been shaped by personal computing and the constantly expanding connectivity that they depend on and these devices allow.
Despite this vague interest in exploring such instruments of modernity, the filmmakers spend most of the film’s running time reminding the audience how “outrageous” the central conceit is via sub-sitcom “We’re Too Old for This” scenarios. By the time a blackmailing plot is introduced, the film seems to be surviving solely on the fumes of curse words and frequent shots of Segal and Diaz’s backsides. This is all compounded by the sentimental affirmation of marriage that caps the narrative, while the rest of the film evokes absolutely nothing in regards to the true trials of family life and coupledom. Before Jay and Annie profess how awesome they think each other is, however, they’re given some sage advice from a surprisingly insightful and accommodating pornographer, played by Jack Black, who suggests that the couple’s sex tape is just an extension of their inability to remember why they had sex in the first place. Of course, it’s not given much consideration in the story, but Black’s smut-peddler has a point that speaks to the film itself. All the mild fascination with modern gadgetry, sexual kinks, and communications can’t hide the fact that Sex Tape is boring, passionless, and without a single moment of sincere joy.