DatesOpens July 18
Stars Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel lay themselves bare in this raunchy comedy about a married couple in need of spicing things up in the bedroom. Unfortunately their sacrifice of overexposure comes in the service of a screenplay that creaks and wheezes like the sweaty labor of some surgically modified, over-the-hill porn actor — and it’s about as delightful as that sounds like it would be to watch.
Annie (Diaz) and Jay (Segel) have lost their sexual spark, as exhausted as they are at the end of the day after working and raising two children. Annie is a mommy blogger and Jay has a vaguely defined job that requires him to make and sync music playlists and attend concerts regularly. Somehow this affords them a spacious, idyllic Los Angeles home and the luxury to go through iPads like disposable napkins.
One night while the kids are away, they decide to make a sex tape. It succeeds in reigniting their passion for lovemaking and also sets in motion the remainder of the plot, after Jay accidentally shares the video with a number of friends and family members to whom he’s given his old iPads. Unaware that syncing technology should allow them to remotely remove the shared video from all of the devices at once, Jay and Annie race around town to delete the files before anyone notices them.
This is where I’m supposed to say something like “hilarity ensues,” but for a film with such a transparently calculated “outrageous” premise, most of the comedy is tepid. There were several painful pauses after supposed punch-lines that were clearly intended by director Jake Kasdan as laugh breaks but which were met with dead silence during the preview screening.
The movie is too in love with its own ideas, satisfied to repeat the same mildly weird joke several times instead of finding a way to ratchet it up to the point where it might produce bigger and bigger payoffs. We’re bored and confused by the sixth strange reference to sliced pineapple, not laughing.