Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Remake "10 Rules" with a big studio budget, throw in a mommy blog, and you get a "Sex Tape"

I actually saw “Sex Tape”, the new situation comedy by Jake Kasdan (story and screenplay by Kate Angelo) by accident.  I went to Angelika Mosaic in Fairfax VA and bought a ticket for a different (sci-fi) movie and got into a conversation about the lightning storm in Venice, CA and whether any actors were injured.  The ticket seller got distracted, I think, and gave me the auditorium number for this film (thinking he had sold this film because of the conversation), and I didn’t bother to check the placard as I entered. So I was in the wrong auditorium, by count of one.  Moreover, the movie started at the same time.  I didn’t know it was wrong until the Columbia Pictures Statue of Liberty logo showed up. Trademark matters. The title of the film doesn’t appear for several minutes, but when it does, it’s in big red letters, on black.

The basic set up is this:  Annie (Cameron Diaz) wants to do a deal with an LA media company where she sells her mommy blog for millions, and is, at the same time, happily married to Jay (Jason Segel), with two kids.  But wait, their relationship is really passionate, befitting what social conservatives view as the ideal for marital sex and passion, as in the Song of Solomon (mentioned before in the Washington Times).  For fun, they make a sex tape.  Jay accidentally uploads it from his iPad through Apple’s iCloud to all of his social media friends and, unfortunately, the company Annie is selling her “Christian” blog to. 
The movie becomes pure situation comedy, almost an “I Love Lucy” on steroids.  There’s a sequence inside the home of the media magnate where Jay is chased by a guard dog.  This idea seems similar to a kinder, gentler chase dog-on-man chase of Reid Ewing in “10 Rules for Sleeping Around” (April 24). I wondered how the dog was trained to work with Segel.  In fact, the concept of the movie sort of resembles the wacky “10 Rules”, but with a big budget and major legacy Hollywood studio behind it.
The movie is so much a situation comedy that the intimate scenes have no erotic appeal at all (whatever the R rating).  Segel’s body, with a freckled but absolutely hairless chest, seems soft, his looks unfocused.  He’s only 33 now.  Diaz is about 8 years older, so you expect this with her.  There’s a borrowing from “American Pie” when Annie uses the clippers on Jay (in a most intimate place) in a late scene.
The topic of “mommy blog” and why they make so much money gets introduced early, and the movie rather lets it lie fallow, to go for comedy.  Now I think that the story of  Heather Armstrong, and the original of the now accepted English language verb “to dooce would make a good film.  (See TV blog, May 12, 2008.)  Remember the story of how she got fired for what she wrote on her blog, before the blog made her and her family millionaires in Mormon Utah.
There’s also some important points about security.  Jay is able to erase the mailman’s iPad by hacking from the Cloud.  That’s scary.  And he has to fight off a blackmail attempt by an obnoxious, fat tween whose voice hasn’t even changed.

Still another interesting point gets made about door-to-door selling and fundraising, which is used as a ruse to try to get the iPads back in one scene.  It used to be much more acceptable with people to answer unsolicited calls than it is now.  It gets harder for some people to make a living for that reason. 
The official site (from Tumblr) is here (Sony and Columbia).
The late Monday night audience at Angelika was larger than expected.  We all got to miss the Washington Nationals’s ninth inning meltdown in Miami.  What a bizarre evening.

Update: Sept. 6

The hack on the Apple iCloud, with "involuntary porn" publishing of nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence and others has led to mention of this movie.  See "BillBoushka" blog Sept. 1, 2014, Internet Safety blog Sept. 1, 2014, and COPA blog, Sept. 4, 2014. 

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