Jason Segel

Rob Lowe in Sex Tape

Jay (Jason Segel) and Annie (Cameron Diaz) used to love to fuck. Having hooked up in college, they would screw in her dorm, in his car, in the library stacks, even behind a tree. Ten years, two kids and one marriage later, that spark has apparently vanished, prompting the desperate couple to film a comprehensive reenactment of “The Joy of Sex” in a bid to get it back. However, this being 2014, their exploits have been filmed with an iPad and not on a video camera, allowing the file to handily vanish into the little-understood Cloud for storage. As a radio DJ, Jay has an unlikely amount of iPads at his disposal and hands them off to friends and family once he’s done with them, and as a mommy blogger, Annie is dreadfully worried that their three-hour lovemaking session might be seen by anyone they’ve given a device, including her wholesome new employer, Hank (Rob Lowe). To watch Sex Tape is to gloss over the practical hurdles of file-sharing and the leads’ repeated reminders of the Apple tablet’s many merits. To watch it is to reinforce the shameful, fearful mindset with which many Americans regard sex while ignoring the distancing effect technology can have on our everyday lives. Furthermore, to watch it is to endure a constant strain as director Jake Kasdan (Zero Effect; Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story) struggles to mine the panicky high-concept premise for three acts’ worth of story, let alone 90 minutes of laughs.

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sex tape roller skate sex

A couple weeks ago on an episode of the Broken Projector podcast, Scott and Geoff discussed movies that became dated by the technology on display, particularly if that tech was integral to the plot. I could only think of them doing a follow-up piece while watching the new Red Band trailer for Sex Tape. The comedy, which stars Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel as a couple who accidentally share their three-hour personal porn with all their friends and family and bosses, is so filled with references to iPads, the Cloud, Siri and Macbooks that not only do I feel the whole thing was financed by Apple but that it resembles a landfill from 2017 — not necessarily a physical one but a garbage dump of culture. These are things that eventually will be outdated, and when that happens, this movie is going to resemble You’ve Got Mail. Only without the sweetness that is making that AOL commercial of a movie celebrated after 15 years (can you imagine a You’ve Got Mail Red Band trailer?). Sex Tape is, instead, a raunchy comedy with plenty of intercourse, cocaine usage, animal cruelty and I bet Segel’s balls wind up on screen at some point, too. It’s also about people with enough money to give out iPads as gifts to everyone they know — see, the way their sex tape is shared with everyone from grandma to Robs Corddry and Lowe (he’s Diaz’s boss) is that it’s uploaded to the Cloud and rained down […]

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the muppets movie

On Friday, we’ll get our second Muppet caper in three years courtesy of Muppets Most Wanted, the latest offering from writer-director James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller. The time since 2011’s The Muppets, also written by Jason Segel (the project’s poster boy, star and arguably biggest, giddiest fan) has seen a mini resurgence in Muppets mania, at least in some facets of the media. We’ve had Lady Gaga host a Muppets Spectacular full of singing and dancing and Jimmy Fallon invite the whole gang on his last episode of Late Night to perform “The Weight,” and we’ve seen Kermit and friends infiltrate everything from the Thanksgiving Day Parade to Lipton Tea commercials to brief moments of psychosis on 30 Rock. Whether or not Muppets Most Wanted is a success, it’s the gateway in a long list of examples that prove one important fact: it’s time for the return of The Muppet Show.

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slc punk 2 poster

Earlier this year we learned there’s going to be a sequel to the 1999 cult film SLC Punk! And not only did the fans immediately begin pogoing with delight, but a lot of them took to Change.org to petition Jason Segel‘s return as the character Mike. Unfortunately, that effort was not successful — Segel is not interested in even a cameo and the part is being recast — but hopefully more lovers of Stevo, Heroin Bob, Trish and John the Mod will be interested in helping to fund this new movie, titled Punk’s Dead. Yep, just like a middle-class suburban teen with expensive bondage pants pretending to be a squatter and panhandling for change in NYC’s Tompkins Square Park, these rich Hollywood players are hitting the curb and begging for money. Just kidding (sort of). This isn’t another time to debate the idea of crowdfunding and what tax bracket is allowed to start a campaign. As a former scenester, I love SLC Punk! and I’m even more interested in a movie that addresses the subculture kid all grown up idea. Writer-director James Merendino seems like he’s also interested in more than a mere reunion piece, though the surface appeal is in the fact that Matthew Lillard, Annabeth Gish, Devon Sawa, James Duval and even Michael Goorjian are returning (yep, Heroin Bob is back from the dead, kind of). Probably also Christopher McDonald and Til Schweiger. And according to the synopsis on the film’s Indiegogo page, there’s a new generation in […]

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breakfast

Just days after the final suspect has been arrested in connection with one of the most massive maple syrup heists in Canada’s history, Sony Pictures has acquired the rights to a pitch that will turn the whole story into a comedy starring Forgetting Sarah Marshall and The Muppets star Jason Segel. Let’s back up and look a little bit closer at the story that’s inspiring this tale though, because despite what Hollywood might think, syrup thievery is no laughing matter. Especially to Canadians. Anne Sutherland of the “Montreal Gazette” was the first journalist to break the story that, between the dates of August 1, 2011 and July 20, 2012, a gang of sticky-fingered syrup thieves had siphoned off the contents of 16,000 45 gallon barrels of maple syrup that were being stored in a warehouse located in Saint-Louis-de-Blandford, which is about 95 kilometers southwest of Quebec City. In total, the thieves were said to be knee-deep in $20 million worth of sticky brown. After over a year of manhunts and investigation, all 20 of the sweet-toothed culprits have now been apprehended, and two-thirds of the syrup has been recovered. Perhaps that’s the happy ending that’s going to finally allow us all to laugh at this dangerous series of events.

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black:farrell

What is Casting Couch? A handy way to keep up with what all of your favorite actors are going to be up to in the coming months and years. Does that make you a stalker? Today we’ve got word on who’s the latest name to join George Clooney in Brad Bird’s mysterious Tomorrowland. Few things in the world are funnier than Jack Black kicking Will Ferrell’s dog off of a bridge, that much is certain. But take the hilarious animal cruelty out of the equation and would these two A-list comedians still be able to produce laughs together? We’re about to find out, because THR is reporting that New Line is putting together a comedy called Tag, which has them attached as co-stars. The basic story of the film comes from a “Wall Street Journal” article about ten classmates from a Washington prep school, now all in their 40s, who get together one month out of the year to play an elaborate game of tag. This conceit, of course, is just the sort of manchild nonsense that these two should be able to knock out of the park, as long as they get a script everyone likes and the thing actually comes together.

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This is 40

This is 40 is not funny. Or, at least, it’s not the “funny ha ha” outing movie-goers have come to expect from Judd Apatow, purveyor of stoned Seth Rogens and manically birthing Katherine Heigls and screaming Steve Carells. It’s not gut-busting or laugh-out-loud or stitch-inducing, but what it actually is may be something far better than all of that – it’s funny because it’s true. Picking up a few years after Apatow’s Knocked Up, the filmmaker turns to the previously-perilous marriage of Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) for his “sort-of sequel.” Pete and Debbie have already been through some minor marital squabbles (remember when Pete would sneak off to the movies, or when Debbie busted in on Pete’s fantasy baseball league?), but their fortieth birthdays (taking place within the same week) bring with them more challenges than they’ve faced before, and more serious ones to boot. All their normal stresses are exacerbated by turning the big 4-0 (Debbie even refuses to let anyone know her actual age), and the addition of financial strains, professional disasters, daddy issues, and a major dust-up at their eldest daughter’s school make it seem like they (and their marriage) might nor survive the week. See? Funny!

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The only way you can describe the new trailer for This Is 40 is to say that it looks, unmistakably, like a Judd Apatow film. Not only are his wife and kids front and center, but so are a ton of other actors that he’s known for collaborating with, they’re all engaging in that stoner-shenanigans-that-still-tug-on-the-heartstrings humor that Apatow perfected if not invented, and it’s all set to a George Harrison song that feels like it was written precisely so it could accompany the sentimental hard sell of a trailer for a Judd Apatow movie.

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Culture Warrior

Imagine what some of our most beloved romantic films would look like if they were made in the 21st century. Laura and Alec of David Lean’s Brief Encounter could have managed their secret meetups over text. Harry and Sally could have checked each others’ okcupid accounts before explaining every aspect of what they seek in a partner over a cross-country road trip. And Ilsa would never have had to get on that plane because, y’know, the war’s over. This is a fruitless endeavor, I know, but it brings one thing into light which poses both problems and opportunities for the contemporary romance film, specifically the romantic comedy: politics, economic conditions, shifting gender roles, and technological evolution means different kinds of relationships and, thus, different kinds of romantic movies. How can the 21st century romance film expect the wedding-bell-chiming happy ending to work in a society full of emerging adults who feel less and less of a need to get married? How can new romantic comedies account for the fact that today’s working professional must move constantly – putting all their human relationships at risk – in order to find a job that suits them without only making films about the uber-privileged? Will there ever be a mainstream romantic comedy featuring a non-monogomous or non-heteronormative protagonist? Several recent screen romances have attempted to tackle the changing nature of relationships – or, at least, the type of relationship typically depicted in the Hollywood romance.

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Compared to Nicholas Stoller‘s two previous films, The Five-Year Engagement has a lot going on. While his prior efforts only covered a few days, Engagement‘s timeline, if you couldn’t guess, goes well over… five years. Fitting all that time in one movie mustn’t be easy, as well as all the drama and comedy that takes place in that same period. As Stoller described the long writing process, it wasn’t easy, but life saves such as When Harry Met Sally helped him get through it, along with the help of co-writer Jason Segel.  With their dramatic comedy, the frequent collaborators took on an idea not discussed enough in love stories: that no one is ever going to be 100% perfect for you. As you’d expect from Stoller and Segel, said idea is milked for every comedic turn possible. Here’s what co-writer/director Nicholas Stoller had to say about the long writing process, why he never screams, and how the world almost got the Eminem animated show it deserved:

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The idea of beginning a romantic comedy at the moment where most others end is a potentially intriguing and promising one. What happens after the meet-cute, the courtship, the third-act conflict and ultimate reunion that leaves our happy couple smiling and in love? If The Five Year Engagement is any indication, what happens next is a slow slog peppered with rom-com conventions, supporting characters who often outshine the leads, and enough laughs to sustain a far shorter movie. When we first meet Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) they themselves have already met, fallen in love and decided to spend the rest of their lives together. He has a great job as a chef in San Francisco, she’s awaiting an offer from UC Berkeley, and their future together looks bright. Until it doesn’t. Berkeley passes, but a school in Michigan offers her a two-year position so Tom gives up his job and the loving couple move east where she blossoms and he begins to fall apart. The wedding day gets pushed back again and again as Tom and Violet struggle to rediscover what brought them together in the first place. Hilarity ensues?

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Dynamic duo Nicholas Stoller and Jason Segel continue their tangled professional careers together in The Five-Year Engagement, unlike the last film in which the pair split writing, with Stoller directing and Segel starring, Get Him to the Greek, their new film tackles some tough stuff in name of the comedy – marriage. The film centers on Segel’s Tom and Emily Blunt‘s Violet and their stumble to the altar. From the film’s first scenes, it’s obvious that Tom and Violet are very much in love, but a series of big life events that have nothing to do with their nuptials steadily pile up until it looks as if their five-year engagement will be just that, an engagement, with no wedding at the end. In the style of Stoller and Segel’s previous works, the film is both funny and true, and the addition of Judd Apatow as producer and a cast that includes Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Mindy Kaling, Rhys Ifans, Kevin Hart, Chris Parnell, and Brian Posehn only pumps up the film’s improv-influenced laughs. The press junket for The Five-Year Engagement was a laidback affair, and one that drove home the point that the film was a collaborative effort between people who actually like each other. Comprised of four roundtables of paired talent, your faithful Reject and a group of other online journalist spent time talking to Segel and Blunt, Nicholas Stoller and Judd Apatow, Brie and Kaling, and Parnell and Posehn. Revelations from the junket were not just confined to […]

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Last month was eclectic. We got Disney‘s like-it-or-hate-it box-office bomb, a sweet and violent comedy following the goons of hockey, one ass-kicking and nonstop action picture, an 80s TV show adaptation that was better than it originally had any right to be, and a Tarsem kids’ film that defied most expectations based on that horror story of a trailer. A pretty strong March, and that’s not even counting The Hunger Games. Before we head into the unpredictable summer movie season, we got 30 days filled with a plenty of excellent and probably not-so-excellent releases coming out. Here are 8 1/2 movies worth seeing this month.

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Jason Segel

When the script for Sex Tape was first acquired by Sony in a deal that reportedly reached seven figures, there was talk that it already had three names attached. The story of a bored, suburban couple who make and then misplace a sex tape was said to be starring Jason Segel and Reese Witherspoon, and it was going to be directed by Nick Stoller. Well, various aspects of that report either didn’t work out or were never true in the first place, because people are talking about Sex Tape again, and only one of those names is still attached. THR reports that while Jason Segel is still on board to play the male lead, a deal with Stoller was never reached, and now Jake Kasdan has signed on to be the director. Witherspoon isn’t mentioned at all in this new report, and, as a matter of fact, they go as far as to say that the female lead hasn’t yet been cast, and Cameron Diaz is thought to be a front-runner for the role.

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Mark and Jay Duplass like people. No matter how much their characters screw up or how mean they get, they love them. There’s no cynicism or condescension from their part. When you’re dealing with a character who lives his life based on the ways of M. Night Shyamalan‘s Signs, it wouldn’t be too hard to poke fun at him. The Duplass brothers don’t do that. Their newest film, Jeff, Who Lives at Home, is pretty in line with their past films. It’s a story of good-hearted people who are completely lost, all looking for the right signs. And, as Rev. Graham Hess did in Shyamalan’s alien-invasion film, they find them in unexpected places. Here’s what Mark and Jay Duplass had to say about Jeff’s adoration for Signs, how they build their characters, and the importance of improvisation:

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In one sense, Mark and Jay Duplass continue their march toward the mainstream with Jeff, Who Lives at Home, their latest writing-directing effort. After all, the Judd Apatow and Todd Phillips bloodlines merge in the form of co-stars Jason Segel and Ed Helms. But Jeff isn’t the sort of vulgar but heartfelt comedy one might expect from that those leading men. There’s no Segel nudity to speak of, and Helms tones down his familiar likable-frat-boy comic relief shtick. Segel plays a slacker, sure, but one imbued with a higher purpose. He’s stuck home, planted on the couch, waiting for a sign to point him toward his destiny. The Duplass brothers’ latest is exactly the sort of whimsical, slight indie enterprise that would be centered on such a character, the sort of movie that begins with Segel’s Jeff waxing poetic about the deeper meaning of M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs before the start of an ordinary day-in-the-life that spins ever so slightly out of control. Helms plays his estranged brother Pat, who has business lunches at Hooters and buys Porsches he can’t afford. When Pat discovers his wife Linda (Judy Greer) might be having an affair, he enlists Jeff in some reconnaissance.

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We’ve already signed up hundreds of people for FSR Dating – the first dating site for movie fans – and to aid the endeavor to provide all of our readers with that special tingle, we’re tossing out a few ideas (that you can totally claim as your own) for forming dates around this week’s releases. They’re perfect for finding a new flame or for proving to your current wife/girlfriend/husband/boyfriend that cheap roses for Valentine’s Day isn’t all you’re good for (even if it totally is). This week involves cops pretending to be in high school, comedians living in the basement and Will Ferrell speaking only in Spanish. If you plan on catching 21 Jump Street, Jeff Who Lives At Home or Casa de mi Padre, what are you doing afterward? Check out these thematic date ideas, sack up, and go ask someone out. Then send us the pictures.

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The Sound of The Muppets

There’s some good news and some bad news for fans of last year’s return of the Muppets to the big screen. Much of the thematic heft of Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller’s The Muppets script came from the question of whether or not the Muppets were still a viable entertainment entity in today’s cynical world, whether anybody remembered them, and if they could still be stars. The answer to that question now seems to be a definitive yes, because The Muppets did so well that Disney is starting work on a sequel.

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The trailer for The Five-Year Engagement doesn’t make it look like a movie I’m too excited to see. Which is strange, because it’s not just the latest film from director Nicholas Stoller, it’s also his latest writing collaboration with Jason Segel, and I love pretty much everything that these guys do. I think the problem is that this one looks like it’s going to be a romantic comedy that’s a little bit heavier on the relationship drama than it will be on the comedy. I like my Jason Segel more silly and whimsical than the one I’m seeing here, dealing with the trials and tribulations of loving a woman who’s career path is taking his life in a different direction than he saw it going. On the flip side of the coin, this little two-and-a-half minute trailer is pretty much the most comedy I’ve ever seen Segel’s co-star Emily Blunt do, and she seems to be rather good at it. Not every actor can do comedy, so you’re never sure what you’re going to get until they try. The image of Kate Hudson getting shot in the leg with an arrow really doesn’t do much for me, but when it happens to Blunt here I got my one solid laugh from the trailer. Emily Blunt certainly isn’t my issue. Check out the first trailer for The Five-Year Engagement after the break.

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Editor’s Note: If you don’t want some of the finer points of The Muppets spoiled for you (uh, including the ending), maybe sit this one out (on a boat somewhere, possibly? with an attractive lady pig and a nearby rainbow?). However, if you’re more concerned with spoilers regarding the film’s copious cameos, you’ve got the frog-green light to read this one. I am a cynic. That’s not so much a startling admission as it is recognition of the ugly little monster that sits on my shoulder every time I go into any given screening these days. This monster whispers in my ear the titles of all the Hollywood films over the last few years that have displayed a lack of originality, poor acting, and a general lack of heart. It tempts me to predispose myself toward negativity and force the movie to win me over. That same monster was sitting on my shoulder even as I sat down to see The Muppets, a film to which I had very much been looking forward. That monster was there despite how much I loved The Muppet Show when I saw it in rerun as a kid and despite my having worn out my VHS copy of The Muppet Movie many years ago. Ultimately, this film not only silenced that little monster, but it clobbered it with one of Miss Piggy’s left hooks and replaced it with a familiar singing frog whom I had forgotten how much I truly missed. As it turns […]

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