“You know the cloud?”
Jake Kasdan’s ‘Sex Tape’ isn’t the first film to focus on the horrors of technology run amok – though it sure is nice to see a film that’s not about murderous cell phones or homicidal fax machines. But, it is unique in its relentless portrayal of demonizing real world items that are both ubiquitous and quite useful. The comedy might be packed with villains, from creepy teen texters to weirdo friends, but the real bad guy of ‘Sex Tape’ is Apple products.
Desperate to spice up their decidedly unsexy marriage (hey, they’re busy, and this plot point will help form the first and last truly relatable aspect of the entire feature), Annie (Cameron Diaz) and Jay (Jason Segel) conceive of a patently terrible plan – they’ll make a sex tape! Because they are a couple that are modern and savvy enough to go through iPads the way that most people go through paper towels, the pair decide to film it on one of Jay’s tablets. But, because they are stupid, they don’t erase the film and it goes up into “the cloud,” where it then trickles down like technological rain into the bevy of used iPads they have gifted to their family and friends.
These are not nameless tablets that just so happen to look like iPads – they are iPads, and they are referred to as such ad nauseum throughout the film. In fact, the entire film is littered with Apple products. For Sony, a studio that typically decks their movies out with their own products, it’s doubly noticeable that ‘Sex Tape’ isn’t about “eTabs” or “mePhabs,” it’s about an actual product that you can go buy right now from one of the world’s most successful technology companies. Jay even touts current iPad upgrades – “higher resolution!” “an upgraded camera!” – and glowingly talks about the construction of an older iPad after Annie tosses it out a second story window (the iPad lives). (And, yes, snippets from the sex tape in question are shown late in the film, and none of it looks like it was filmed on an iPad, upgraded camera be damned.)
Annie and Jay are two seriously plugged in people – Annie runs a mommy blog (called “Who’s Yo Mommy,” because why not) and Jay’s job as a radio station producer is apparently highly dependent on him having two iPads on him at all times. Jay’s comfort with technology – and, specifically, with Apple products – vacillates throughout the film. Here’s a guy who relies on his iPad (his two iPads) to do his job, who uses an advanced cloud system to share his apparently famous playlists to the recipients of those cast-off iPads, who happily taps away on his Apple computer at home and at work, and who totes an iPhone, but who totally loses his mind when it comes to the cloud.
By the time the film reaches it second act, a deranged Jay screams, “Nobody understands the cloud! It’s an f-ing mystery!”
He doesn’t even call tech support (if he did, he’d probably know about the concept of “remote wiping") when things go wild, he and Annie just decide to start harassing their family and friends in order to save face. (Siri also proves to be useless in a pinch.) Even basic things elude Annie and Jay – an early comment about the name a file is saved under foreshadows more mayhem, but that’s not Apple problem, that’s a you’re really bad with technology problem.
Although most of what happens in ‘Sex Tape’ could be avoided through common sense, should you find yourself in a similar situation, you don’t even need to actually use your brain to get out of it – because what happens to Annie and Jay can’t happen in the real world. GQ went about fact-checking the film (using actual AppleCare), and the results were both hilarious and pretty enlightening:
All right, so I went ahead and looked into it for you, and you would have to make special settings for anyone to be able to see that—like a shared stream.
So videos can't just go into the Cloud?
Videos can be backed up to iCloud, but what that means is the video would be saved as, like, a backup. But you wouldn't be able to share it with anyone. No one can go into the iCloud and watch the video.
Okay. So let's say I made my sex video, and somehow it got into the Cloud, and then I gave iPads as gifts to a hundred of my friends and family. What are the chances they would ever get that sex video on their iPads?
Impossible. They can't connect to your iPad over, like, a network and just get info. You would be the one who has control.
Okay, that's so good to know. Do you guys have an official policy on sex videos? I assume you probably hear from people like me a lot.
So why is Sony’s ‘Sex Tape’ all about iPads and Apple’s iCloud? And why does the drama of the film center on what boils down to an issue of user-friendliness? Well, it might just be a rouse to get moviegoers to think more favorably of other tablets and cloud configurations. Oh, like Sony’s?
Concave Brand Tracking wonders if the inclusion of iPads and the iCloud is a purposeful move to make them look bad, writing that “whilst iCloud will get plenty of publicity from the is movie, if it is shown as hard to use, mysterious and prone to uploading private files for other people to access, this may scare a lot of viewers from trying it.”
Additionally, although “Sony does not have a cloud computing service that rivals the iCloud directly, they have recently launched Sony Media Cloud Service which seems to be directed at media sharing. The plot of this movie centres on the sharing a home movie so this might have been relevant...further research indicates that Sony files sharing service might be more targeted at professionals.” Yes, it’s a pretty big stretch to imagine that ‘Sex Tape’ was created just to make Apple look bad (come on, it wasn’t), but it’s not hard to conceive that it might still help Sony look good.
As Concave notes, “one explanation could be that Sony did not want its product associated with the negative associations mentioned above so preferred using Apple ones, even if it meant giving them publicity. Though they could have used anonymous product and an anonymous file sharing service rather than Apple.”
Hey, it’s a f-ing mystery.