Posts Tagged ‘Auto Focus’

Metro Canada: Sex Tape and a short history of sex tape movies


By Richard Crouse – In Focus Metro Canada

For many people, especially those who troll around in the more unsavoury corners of the Internet, the first exposure to celebs like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian came from that most modern form of celebrity introduction: the sex tape.

Paris and Kim’s videoed sexcapades weren’t the first tapes to become public — in 1988 Rob Lowe was embarrassed when VHS images of him and two women popped up on the news — and they weren’t the last.

This week in Sex Tape, Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz are Jay and Annie, a married couple who try to spice things up in the bedroom by videotaping themselves. All goes well until Jay forgets to erase the tape and mistakenly stores it on the Internet. “Our sex tape has been synced to several devices,” he says, “all of which are in the possession of friends!”

Given how many actors have appeared in sex tapes it’s not surprising that several movies have used the raunchy videos as a plot point.

In Brüno, the titular Austrian fashion reporter (Sacha Baron Cohen) tries to make a name for himself in America by making a sex tape with another famous American, U.S. Congressman Ron Paul. Trouble was, Paul wasn’t in on the joke. “I was expecting an interview on Austrian economics,” said Paul. “But, by the time he started pulling his pants down, I was like ‘What is going on here?’ I ran out of the room. This interview has ended.”

The 2006 comedy Drop Box has production values not unlike that of an actual sex tape but despite its low budget it offers up the funny and often brutal story about Mindy (Rachel Sehl), a big-time bubblegum pop star (think Britney or Miley), who accidentally returns her homemade sex tape to her local video store instead of Glitter, the movie she rented. Realizing her mistake, she tries to re-rent the tape.

Clocking in at just 80 minutes, it’s a character study about a spoiled pop princess who butts heads with an unmovable force in the form of the uncooperative and inquisitive clerk (David Cormican).

Finally, Auto Focus exposes sex tapes’ dark side. Hogan’s Heroes star Bob Crane’s (Greg Kinnear) all-American public persona hid a secret obsession. “I’m a normal, red-blooded American man,” he says. “I like to look at naked women.” According to the film, he liked making sex tapes with women, usually without their knowledge. The movie speculates his 1978 murder may have been related to this unlawful pastime.


autofocusAuto Focus is basically like a nicely acted, snappily directed episode of E! True Hollywood Story. The account of sitcom star Bob Crane’s rise to fame, first as a DJ, then as the lead in television’s Hogan’s Heroes and fall into the pit of sex addiction and (every actor’s nightmare) dinner theatre has all the elements of great tabloid trash. Top that off with a brutal murder – that may or may not have been a direct result of his years of skirt chasing – and you’re mining pop culture gold. Auto Focus, however, takes itself a little too seriously to be great trashy fun. The movie could have been a wild romp, but director Paul Schrader chose to unfurl the film in a clinical way, which avoids the pitfalls of exploitation, but also sucks some of the fun out of the story. Greg Kinnear plays against his usual good guy type and delivers a vivid portrait of Crane as a superficially smirky shallow man only interested in his hedonistic sex life. Willem Dafoe has the art of playing the villain down to a science and hands in a creepy performance as John Carpenter, the seedy audio/visual salesman who introduced Crane to the world of orgies, swinger’s bars and the naughty possibilities of video tape.