"Sex Tape" (Columbia) is, arguably, a pro-marriage film centered on a couple whose love for each other is shown to be steadfast.
A debased view of human intimacy, however, hobbles director Jake Kasdan's often ill-advised pursuit of laughs -- and cripples the otherwise potentially positive aspects of his film.
We know we're off to a rocky start when dedicated wife and mother Annie (Cameron Diaz) opens the movie by composing a blog entry about the enthusiastic sexual connection she and future hubby Jay (Jason Segel, who also co-wrote the script) shared long before their stroll down the aisle. Suffice it to say, as college sweethearts they found a novel use for the library book stacks and were not overly concerned about privacy.
The unplanned pregnancy that led to their wedding was followed by the arrival of another child, so that nowadays career and family preoccupations have caused their once-flaming passion to flicker. In a bid to rekindle it, Annie suggests that they tape themselves during what turns out to be a marathon session in the bedroom. Their goal is to follow every suggestion offered in British author Alex Comfort's 1972 volume, "The Joy of Sex."
This amateur foray into pornography turns out to have disastrous results. Instead of promptly erasing the tape, as Annie requests, Jay inadvertently distributes it to various people. They include his and Annie's best friends, Robby (Rob Corddry) and Tess (Ellie Kemper), as well as Hank (Rob Lowe), the toy manufacturer Annie is trying to persuade to sponsor her aforementioned, parenting-themed blog.
The mad scramble to recover the tape ironically winds up strengthening Annie and Jay's bond. But along the way to this laudable outcome, the physical dimension of marriage is made the subject of extensive, predictably sophomoric, humor. Segel's body is put on display for giggles, Diaz's no doubt for other purposes.
The fact that one of the video's unintended recipients is Robby and Tess' teenage son, Howard (Harrison Holzer), only makes the proceedings more distasteful.
The film contains strong sexual content -- including graphic premarital sexual activity and marital lovemaking, rear and partial nudity and pervasive sexual humor -- drug use, about a half-dozen instances of profanity as well as relentless rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.