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Red-band trailer for 'Sex Tape' has both laughs and laughable technology

Posted Tuesday, April 1, 2014 at 10:02 AM Central

by Tim Briscoe

Hollywood has a long history of getting technology wrong in movies. There are lots of great things computers can do and as many things they can't do -- despite what script writers think. You've seen those movies and TV shows that take a blurry and distorted photo or video and enhance it so the critical information, like a car's license plate number, can be read? Yeah, that really doesn't happen.

Need more examples? Watch any of these: The Net, Hackers, Independence Day, WarGames, Superman 3, Swordfish, Live Free or Die Hard, Real Genius, Weird Science, the list goes on...

The upcoming film Sex Tape starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel looks to be the next on this list. It's an old concept -- a couple looking to rekindle the romance -- combined with a new one -- mobile devices and cloud computing. The married couple film themselves having sex but inadvertently broadcast the video to all the iPads they gave out for Christmas. D'oh!

Take a look at the red-band trailer (contains numerous F bombs) that was just released:

OK, OK. Call me Mr. Buzzkill. I know comedy is about setting expectations and skewing it to absurd proportions, technically speaking. Certain parts of this preview make me laugh. Other aspects make me shake my head in disbelief.

First off, it's a bit surprising how pervasive the Apple devices and technology are in the trailer alone. iPads, iCloud, PhotoStream, and Siri are all featured. Sex Tape is from Sony Pictures. Sony has their own computer devices that compete with many of these Apple products. Tinfoil hat in place, maybe this is Sony propaganda to dissuade consumers from buying Apple stuff?

If you had the Mythbusters look at this trailer they'd deem it "Plausible." The concept of recording a video on your iPad and having it automatically shared to your friends and family is real. That's provided by Apple's iCloud and PhotoStream services. I can understand how that could happen with close friends and family. Would you really share your personal photos with your mailman, let alone give him an iPad for Christmas? Doubtful. Would you even give out iPads as gifts? That's especially doubtful for me since I'm a cheapskate.

The reality is, as owner of the PhotoStream, you can remove a photo or video from the feed. Jason Segel's character could've recognized his problem and easily removed the offending video from his friends' devices. Yeah, the recipients could've saved a copy locally on their computers but that's a conscious decision they'd have to make.

My point is this: the filmmakers didn't have to resort to obscure and hard to understand technology to make this film's concept work. There's a much more simple and obvious answer in email. Segel's character could've mistakenly sent an email containing the video to everyone by mistake. That seems more reasonable. In most cases, once an email is sent, it's out of your control. Despite its ubiquity, I guess email is no longer topical in Hollywood.

This was only the first trailer. I'll reserve final judgment both on the technology and the film until I see the entire thing. Sex Tape hits theaters on July 25.