A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Sex Tape -- a raunchy but funny comedy about a couple trying to rekindle the passion in their marriage -- is definitely too mature for young teens and tweens. First off, there's the subject matter: sex, and the creation of a sex tape, and the problems and hilarity that ensue from that decision. There's also the exploration of a marriage's failings, which may go over the head of younger viewers. Given the plot, there's plenty of nudity (though no genitals are shown) and salty language (including "f--k" and "c--t"). Consumerism is rampant: Just about everyone has an iPhone or a Mac laptop or some other Apple product. Drugs and alcohol are used, and there's some violence played for laughs (a man hits a vicious dog, shoves it up against a wall, and falls off a balcony with it).
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Married 10 years, Annie (Cameron Diaz), a mom blogger, and Jay (Jason Segel), a music exec, are still in love but can hardly fit in private time for each other because of the fatigue that comes with raising kids and juggling work. To celebrate the pending sale of Annie's blog to a Fortune 500 firm, they ask Grandma to take the kids and carve out some time for each other. Eager to rekindle their passion, they decide to make a sex tape. But when Jay forgets to erase it and it's accidentally uploaded onto the cloud, which anyone that Jake has gifted an iPad to can access (and there are many, since he cycles through iPads with regularity), the couple must use all available means to retrieve it before their reputations -- and Annie's blog sale -- are wrecked.
Is it any good?
For a movie that's ostensibly about sex, Sex Tape has a lot of heart. Diaz and Segel make a fine team, imbuing their roles -- larger-than-life characters though they may be -- with warmth and accessibility. Diaz is especially good in this film; her timing is great, and she's so likable, even when her character veers toward extremes. It's remarkable, too, how Annie and Jay are drawn as true equals instead of the standard-issue opposites-attract trope that Hollywood trots out in nearly every romcom. Bravo.
Nonetheless, by the time it's two-thirds along, the movie feels like it's flogged the same joke to death. Plenty of references are made to the embarrassment of having the mailman view the tape, and yet we never see him (or her), making all those allusions superfluous. A new complication thrown in toward the end feels unnecessary, and the ending is unsurprising, to say the least. And yet -- and this is the film's biggest appeal -- you feel good about Annie and Jay in the end. The premise may be tired, but they're not.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what Annie and Jay ultimately learn -- not just about sex, but about marriage.
Because Sex Tape is about sex, you can also discuss the role of sex in movies. What is the movie's take on sex within a long-term marriage?
An iPad figures heavily into the film's plot. Is this just storytelling or in-your-face product placement?
- In theaters: July 18, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: October 21, 2014
- Cast: Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Jack Black
- Director: Jake Kasdan
- Studio: Columbia Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong sexual content, nudity, language and some drug use
- Last updated: March 13, 2020
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