Review – Be Kind… Rewind… (“Sex Tape”)

After the successful pairing of Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel in 2011’s Bad Teacher, it was a no-brainer that director Jake Kasdan pair this likable couple up a second time. Taking a page from the Judd Apatow School Of How 30-Something’s Behave, we begin with college sex-pots Annie (Diaz) and Jay (Segel), who sexually can’t get enough of each other. It’s anywhere/anytime/anyplace  for these two and they’re loving every minute of it, so much so, they decide to tie the knot when Annie gets pregnant. But they promise each other that, come children or not, their passion for sex will never diminish. Riiiiight!  



Fast-forward nine years or so, and raising two children has abruptly put the kibosh on their sex life. Plans for “Thursday night sex” are substituted with watching Project Runway and falling asleep after a hard day at work. Jay works as a music programmer and Annie, a rather proficient writer, has a successful internet blog for mommies that may or may not get picked up by The Piper Bros., a wholesome (and huge) toy company run by Hank Rosenbaum (Rob Lowe), a curiously strange CEO that has a rather odd Disney fixation with himself.

Anyway, while the kids are away at mom’s, Annie gets the brilliant idea of making a porn video with Jay using his brand new Ipad and their old 1972 edition of The Joy of Sex book. Yes, three hours of doing every single move in the book and recording it! Sounds like fun, huh? Well, it is…  er, was… until Jay finds out that their sex video, as part of a Ipad program called “Frankensync”, automatically uploaded their video to everyone who has an old Ipad that Jay or Annie gave them as gifts. Uh-oh!!

They go to Defcon 5 figuring out who has their old Ipads and how to retrieve them, all the while trying to decipher a mysterious texter to Jay who says he has a copy of the video. Desperate to snap up the Ipads, they visit their best friends, Robbie (Rob Corddry) and Tess (Ellie Kemper) and their teen spawn-of-evil son, Howard (Harrison Holzer). Confessing the truth, the two couples go after an Ipad which was given to CEO Hank, visiting his palatial mansion in what turns out to be the movie’s funniest scene.

But just as Jay figures out how to delete ALL the videos from ALL the distributed Ipads, the mystery caller reveals himself and demands $25,000 or else he’ll upload a copy of the sex video to YouPorn.com for the whole world to see! Fearing the worst, Jay and Annie decide to raid the porn website building to stop the upload, only to meet the gracious owner of the site (Jack Black) and his gorgeous wife (Jolene Blalock). The ending has a silly tacked-on elementary school graduation that goes awry, but it wraps things up nicely.

Written by Segel, Kate Angelo, and Nicholas Stoller, who also wrote Forgetting Sarah Marshall, this light and fluffy comedy (and a running product placement for all things Apple) doesn’t have anywhere near the raunchiness of a Kevin Smith or Judd Apatow film, but it tries. Oh, does it try! It does have some very funny moments, but just moments do not a comedy movie make. Kasdan needed a sharper edge, like he gave us with his Bad Teacher.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno (1988)


*

Filming yourself and your partner having sex is one thing, but doing it to make a few bucks so you pay the bills, well that’s something completely different. From the twisted and dirty mind of Kevin Smith came this surprisingly sweet little film that was a box office bomb and nearly ended Smith’s career. Can’t imagine why; you decide.

Filmed entirely in Pittsburgh’s suburb’s, this quirky movie sported an excellent cast starting with the title characters of Zack Brown (Seth Rogan) and Miri Linky (Elizabeth Banks), best friends and roommates who, despite having jobs, can’t pay their apartment’s utility bills. But after seeing a hidden video of Miri in her underwear going viral on the net, Zack gets a brainstorm. Getting together a group of friends, Zack decides to film (and then later sell) a porn video called Star Whores, a parody of Star Wars, starring himself and Miri! But things get off to a rocky start when their costumes and equipment are destroyed, the building they were shooting in is demolished, and the renter takes off with their money.

Undaunted, Zack decides to shoot the porn inside a local coffee shop after hours instead and things go great until director Zack casts himself to have sex with Miri, saying that it’s only for the movie; it’s nothing personal. But during filming it DOES get personal and they get passionate and involved, letting their true feelings for each other come across on screen.

Needless to say, the rest of the shooting goes on with Zack and Miri attempting to have sex with other actors (for the movie’s sake), but can’t. Naturally, each other thinks the other is sleeping around, which causes friction. When Zack breaks down and confesses his true love for Miri and that his making love to her wasn’t faked, but real, Miri doesn’t agree and Zack storms off the set, quits the film, and leaves the apartment they shared.

In true Kevin Smith fashion, Zack returns in the third act to pour out his heart to Miri, who finally comes to her senses and falls for Zack. The finale is a cute little epilogue, in which we see the happy couple opening a video porn business for other couples.

With a cast that includes Smith’s partner, Jason Mewes, Justin Long, and horror make-up man, Tom Savini, you also get real porn stars Traci Lords and Katy Morgan. Yes, it’s a written/edited/directed by Kevin Smith pic, all right, but despite all the raunchy, colorful language and considerable nudity (and there is A LOT!), this film got a “R” rating (from it’s first NC-17 rating) only after some major editing. And Smith fought the MPAA board for all his cuts, by the way.

As in all Smith’s movie’s, the actors look like perfectly natural making this movie, that is, they don’t look like they’re acting. It’s clever, funny, decadent, and one of Smith’s lesser known gem’s that has, dare I say it, an innocence about it that is touching and wrapped around racy dialogue and gratuitous shots of naked women. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!


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