Open relationship couples boning left and right while documenting every frame get into trouble when the tapes go missing and the accusations fly. Mainline Releasing drops another Cinemax softcore flick with Sex Tapes, a provocative title while the actual plot is far more dramatic than sensational.
Sex Tapes is another Tina Hawthorne script (who has by far become my favorite softcore script writer, even her wide misses are interesting!), you can expect a lot of talking and relationship issues to come to the surface. As characters stress over the missing sex tapes and their own relationship issues, the arguments get personal and circular, so a lot of the recap portion is just summarizing the arguments. But much of the talking feels real, like you would overhear at a coffeeshop while couples are arguing. Unfortunately, it sometimes feels a bit too real, while other sections are a bit too staged. This all combines with a lack of resolution that makes Sex Tapes disappointing, but an interesting disappointing.
Sam and Lisa seem to have the perfect open relationship, they love each other and have gobs of money and are ringleaders and hosts to the other swinging couples. But things aren’t what they seem. Sam is in a secret affair with Alexis, a violation of the trust rules. Lisa suspects something is going on, but doesn’t have proof. Sam is very controlling, his video documentation of all the sex action is part of his need to be in charge of everything, including recording and editing things to perfection. It’s also why he feels he can cheat on Lisa, because Sam can do whatever he wants to do.
Carrie and Tyler argue constantly and have clear trust issues, which is odd because they’re also in open relationship which requires trust. But their fights never last long and always end in them making up. There is also a hint of Carrie having poor self image, which might explain some of the problems. Tyler is more sedentary, spending long portions of the film just sitting on the couch. His passiveness seems like it would cause Tyler to get upset about his lack of action, but that isn’t even discussed.
Alexis and Brent have the most damaged relationship in that their goals are completely opposite. Brent is becoming more important in his law firm and realizes the days of having sex on camera needs to stop. Alexis has no intentions of stopping, nor of stopping her affair with Sam. Brent is unaware of the affair, and seemingly unaware that Alexis has even had sex with anyone else, describing their participation as just watching others have sex while they as a couple have sex. Brent is no saint, he does cheat on Alexis before he has confirmation that she is cheating on him. But the fact his wife disappears for long periods with Sam should be a tip off even the blindest man would get.
With these three couples, the damage is already there, and when tapes go missing and all the secrets and lies get exposed in the open, it is not a pretty sight. Good thing there are Sex Tapes that recorded everything!
Lisa and Sam have some time to kill, so getting it on while taping themselves getting it on, outside on their giant pool patio, seems like the perfect thing to do. So they do. Sam has recorded the whole thing on the laptop and burns it to disk. He has a whole bag full of recorded DVDs.
Lisa is a little nervous about the disks not being in a safe, and makes cryptic comments about they not being the only ones on the tapes. Max says they have nothing to hide, but their friends should worry because they need to be more honest and the camera reveals all.
I’m sure you can imagine where the plot of this film will go!
Carrie and Tyler busy arguing because last night at a company party, they were talking with other people and not just each other. Networking turns to jealousy very quickly, it seems. The bicker bicker turns to tricker trick her out of her undies and then they kiss and make up and make more than up.
It’s party time, and Lisa and Sam stop by Carrie and Tyler’s place, with Alexis and Brent to come in a bit. The two late-comers arrive, and we learn Brent has been acting a bit weird because of the camera group sex parties they’ve been having.
Sam talks Alexis into trying to talk Brent into coming back – via kissing. And then via more than kissing. The whole scene is intercut with brief shots of everyone else on the patio chatting and relaxing. No one seems to know or care the other two are gone a long time. Since we find out later these little rendezvous are done in secret, it’s odd how indiscreet they are.
Later Brent mentions that being a high powered attorney who goes to swinger sex parties is too much of a professional risk, so he can’t come no more. He also asks Sam to destroy the sex tapes that he and Alexis are on. Sam reluctantly agrees.
At home, when Sam goes to do so, the tapes are gone and a note remains! Dun dun DUN!!!
Sam calls everyone together at his place to announce the problem, and read the note that wants $100,000 in three days or tapes go on the internet! Sam and Tyler are both broke and need Brent to front $85K of the money. Brent is angry angry angry about the whole situation and how everyone wants him to pay.
Alexis and Sam wander off to talk alone and reassure each other. Which means they bone, once again while everyone is in the other room and not wondering why the two are taking so long or why there is all that moaning and groaning coming from the bedroom.
Brent let slip that he only had sex with Alexis and she just likes to watch – aka he has no idea she’s boning Sam! Sam and Alexis come out and talk with the rest of the group, where Sam says everyone here knows where the spare key to the house is, so he accuses everyone! You can imagine how angry that makes every, especially Carrie for some reason. Everyone bickers and picks sides. Brent consoles Carrie, Alexis bitches away at Lisa, and Tyler stays on the couch. Tyler doesn’t look like the kind of guy who’s mobile a lot.
Brent takes Carrie home and says she’s beautiful, so they have sex because that’s how it works.
Lisa accuses Sam of having an affair with Alexis, and Sam shrugs it off the accuses Lisa of taking the tapes. She counters with the same. Sam’s anger become tenfold when his subdivision’s rentacop David shows up at the door, with the empty sex tape bag he claims he found in the dumpster.
Lisa is still mad at Sam, and bitches at Alexis (who tries to hint that Lisa should leave Sam) and declares she’ll get revenge on Sam and Alexis…by having sex with Tyler. Which I am not sure how that gets revenge on Alexis, but ok.
Brent and Carrie return finally, which sort of kills the excuse for taking Carrie home since she came right back after they had their fling. Accusations fly and fly and people know people were getting it on. Carrie declares Brent nice but way to conservative, and is mad at her boyfriend Tyler for obviously having sex. Both leave.
Brent is shocked at the accusations against Alexis and how rude Lisa is to her. Lisa says she saw the tapes Sam made of him and Alexis, and plays the tape for Sam, Alexis, and Brent.
There are occasional reaction shots from the audience, but the film mostly just plays the sex tape scene, which is probably the best sex scene in the film.
When the tape is finally over, Lisa says she threw all the dvds out except that one, so she has no clue why they are missing from the bag. And the money ransom note thing seems to be Sam’s idea, independent of what happened. Alexis is angry and demands to be taken home, and Brent leaves threatening to sue if they don’t recover the tapes.
Tyler and Carrie kiss and make up.
Alexis cries apologies to Brent, but from his expressions, things here might be permanently broken.
Sam sleeps alone, and Lisa spends the night rewatching the dvd of her husband cheating and crying.
At the end, we cut to the security guy David with all the dvds, in his car watching a tape that has all three couples getting it on in separate parts of the same pool party.
Wait, do they ever get the tapes back? I guess we’ll never know. But probably not, even though it became obvious that David had the tapes after he returned the bad and we found out Lisa tossed them out. But a conclusion here does nothing but add to the running time, so the mystery will have to stand. The story isn’t about the conclusion, it’s about the journey, and the couples and their relationships.
Rated 6/10 (MRG!, Wooden Ships, a horse of course!, tattoo time, art, more art)
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