Jake Kasdan’s Sex Tape has the promise of a raucous comedy. Unfortunately it does not quite deliver in the humour stakes.
Having been married for several years and with two children, Annie and Jay have little time for intimacy. The couple decide to make a sex tape, only to discover the video isn’t as private as they thought…
It is clear what the filmmakers are trying to do with Sex Tape. Rather than an out-and-out raunchy comedy, writers Kate Angelo, Nicholas Stoller and Jason Segel try to inject more feeling into the narrative, with the central theme of the trials of marriage apparent from the very beginning of the movie.
However, Sex Tape fails simply for its lack of genuine laughs. Without these, the film flails as a romance; not quite edgy enough to compensate for the overt sentiment. The script lunges between crudeness and this rather twee sentiment. The balance would have been more successful had there been belly laughs.
Director Jake Kasdan reunites with Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz after the success of Bad Teacher. A similar style of humour tries to be replicated in Sex Tape, but it is not as effective this time round. The funniest sequence raises a few laughs, but this comes at a mid point in the film. Elsewhere, the movie feels padded out with additional strands to compensate for a flimsy central plot.
Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel have good chemistry in Sex Tape. Segel is looking gaunt, which can be distracting at first. It is Rob Lowe who is responsible for the film’s most memorable part. The actor is becoming something of a scene-stealer in his recent film roles.
Sex Tape is in the unusual position of being not funny enough for a rambunctious comedy, and being too lewd for a romance. Although the film is rarely dull, it is not memorable either.
Steven Soderbergh’s Behind the Candelabra is resplendent. As dazzling as any of Liberace’s outfits, Behind the Candelabra is easily one of the best films of the year so far.
Scott Thorson is a young gay man living in California. When a friend takes him to see legendary entertainer Liberace, a relationship develops. Scott is thrust into a world of extravagance, but living with Liberace is not plain sailing…
Behind the Candelabra works so well because both comedy and drama are executed fantastically. Based on Thorson’s autobiographical novel, the film has many laughs. However, it is the moments of emotion and reflection which are affecting.
Behind the Candelabra is funny without mocking Liberace. It does poke fun at the flamboyant character now and again, but this is done in an affectionate way rather than a spiteful one. In a way, it is in keeping with the camp of the legend himself. The film boasts some excellent lines.
The central dynamic of the tumultuous relationship between Liberace and Thorson is what makes the film tick. This relationship is portrayed with depth; it is convincing and engaging. Both protagonists are three dimensional. Other characters, such as Dr Startz bring excellent comedy value to the film.
Costumes and sets in Behind the Candelabra are sublime. The film really captures the flamboyance of Liberace’s outfits and staging for his shows. There is a good use of Liberace’s music and staging to recreate shows. Soderbergh’s direction solid throughout; he handles the intimate scenes and the busier stage numbers equally well.
Behind the Candelabra features some fantastic performances. Michael Douglas is wholly convincing as the legendary entertainer, while Matt Damon delivers a strong performance as Scott Thorson. The pair are aided by a solid supporting cast. In particular Rob Lowe is a scene stealer as Dr Startz.
Simply put, Behind the Candelabra is essential viewing.
When I heard a Liberace biopic was being made, I clutched my rhinestone-encrusted cape with excitement. Behind the Candelabra is based on Scott Thorson’s autobiographical novel about his relationship with the flamboyant entertainer. Here are five reasons to watch Behind the Candelabra when it is released in cinemas on 7th June 2013…
1. The Outfits
Look at this magnificent outfit. The costumes are reason enough to watch Behind the Candelabra. The rings, ruffled sleeves, the bejewelled fur-lined cape. Librace was famed for his outfits, so the film is bound to feature several of show-stopping looks. Get ready to take notes.
2. The Hair
Rob Lowe can really work a feathered bob. I don’t think he has ever looked better. Behind the Candelabra is set in 1977, so expect hairspray, feathering, and volume like no other.
3. The Cast and Director
The enviable cast is another reason to watch Behind the Candelabra. Michael Douglas looks ever inch the part as showman Liberace, while Matt Damon always delivers a solid performance. Dan Aykroyd and Rob Lowe are two other big-name members of the cast. Although I haven’t been overly impressed by some of Steven Soderbergh’s recent efforts (I am yet to see Side Effects, but Magic Mike and Haywire were below par), however his pedigree does add a certain allure to this project.
Behind the Candelabra is about the incomparable Liberace. One of my (and surely everyone else’s) idols, Liberace was exactly what an entertainer should be: flamboyant, talented, and not without a whiff of controversy. If you require another reason to watch Behind the Candelabra, check out the above clip of Liberace on The Muppet Show from 1978.
5. Librace’s Dog
Look at this dog. Look at its collar. Being Liberace’s dog must have been the greatest vocation on Earth. To be surrounded by that much glamour and that many sequins would make my heart explode. On top of everything else, viewers get to soak up the magnetism of this canine in Behind the Candelabra. Spectacular.