Geoff Cox’s DVD reviews: Sex Tape; Let’s Be Cops; As Above, So Below

If you’re browsing the shelves in your local HMV store or supermarket, a DVD named SEX TAPE (15: Sony) may grab your attention.

Jay (Jason Segel) and Annie (Cameron Diaz)
Jay (Jason Segel) and Annie (Cameron Diaz)

But apart from the title, there isn’t much else to this comedy,starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel, to tempt you to buy it.

The leads, who had good chemistry in Bad Teacher, reunite with director Jake Kasdan to play a married couple with kids trying to rediscover that old magic under the bedclothes.

They capture their efforts on video and, inevitably, the footage gets out.

But rather than dealing with the fallout, Kasdan leads the couple on a frantic and frankly tiresome hunt for all the iPads gifted to friends and family where the data has been received.

Segel wrestles a dog for a few cheap laughs and Rob Lowe is drafted in to send himself up as a strait-laced publisher who wants to buy Diaz’s blog.

His morals are a little looser than initially thought and yet, apart from some light nudity and excessive swearing, the gags are surprisingly timid.

The excruciating moments you would expect Segel and Diaz to have to deal with never happen, making this a big fat tease of a movie.

> Two friends go to a fancy-dress party as police officers and are amazed by how people on the street react to their uniforms in LET’S BE COPS (15: Twentieth Century Fox).

Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr play the pair of underachievers and when they are mistaken for real officers, they enjoy the attention and decide to keep the charade going, which throws them in the path of the Russian mob.

Predictable from the start, this fake-cop comedy begins to grate once the novelty of the set-up fades and a standard “falling foul of gangsters” plot takes over.

As likeable as the two on-screen losers are, the inevitability of their journey means both they and the impressive support cast (particularly Rob Riggle as a real-life cop duped by their antics) career towards an eye-rolling finish.

With a funny premise that is never really developed, the film raises the occasional smile but is so generic it feels like a thousand other comedies that came before it.

> By-the-numbers spook story AS ABOVE, SO BELOW (15: Universal) follows a group of adventurers as they explore the catacombs beneath the streets of Paris in search of ancient artefacts, but find more than they bargained for.

With surprises and dangers lurking around every corner, the mission becomes more about escape, as, one by one, members of the party are subjected to unseen terrors and picked off by ghostly apparitions.

Perdita Weeks, as the Lara Croft-like leader of the expedition, makes a steely heroine, although her fellow subterranean thrill-seekers are drawn as uninteresting stereotypes.

It’s a perfectly serviceable addition to the ‘found footage’ genre of chillers from director/co-writer John Erick Dowdle, who puts cameras in each character’s helmet, allowing quick cuts from one scene to another.

Yet despite the claustrophobia of the setting, he never quite racks up enough tension for a full-on fright-fest.