I had the pleasure of attending an advance screening and the Los Angeles press junket of the movie Sex Tape as a “mommy blogger” media guest of Sony Pictures and Columbia Pictures.
That’s right. Entertainment Weekly, Newsweek and me.
Makes total sense.
Actually, Sex Tape‘s protagonist Annie, played by Cameron Diaz, is a late-thirties mom blogger. In the film she and her husband Jay, played by Jason Segel, attempt to reconnect intimately after 15 years of marriage and lives run ragged by kids and work. Amidst a madcap chase to track down the accidentally-shared sex tape footage, wacky escapades and yes, sex on tape, the message of the film is to work to reboot that crazy chemistry a couple feels in the beginning after years of life and love together.
OK, getting warmer.
I’m 39, have three kids, a job writing about parenting topics, I live in the suburbs, I chauffeur the kids to countless activities, I am juggling more than I can handle. I love comedy, and my husband and I have seen nearly everything that Jake Kasdan and Jason Segel have written, directed and produced, starting with Freaks and Geeks and through Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Bad Teacher and beyond.
I have been married for 12 years to a man I love passionately…but am often too exhausted to, um, love passionately, as much as I would like.
Ahhhh, so I am the target audience for this movie.
And that means if you are reading this here blog? Probably you are too.
So if you were on the Sex Tape press tour, what would YOU ask Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel and Jake Kasdan? You guys were the ones I was thinking of when I sat across the table from them, and I tried to do you a solid, as did my fellow mom bloggers at the roundtable interviews.
The question that seemed most relevant to me is why to see this movie at the theatre? I see a lot of comedy, and will always see anything Kasdan, Segel and Diaz make. But with the kids and the jobs, I have to admit that my husband and I watch most new movies lazily from home.
Director Jake Kasdan liked my question. As I swooned, he answered, “I think this is a movie for people who feel exactly that way. I would describe myself in exactly the same demographic. When we were finally getting ready to do it [make the film], I showed it to my wife [singer-songwriter Inara George], we have three little kids, and I said you should read this and see what you think, as I do with everything I am serious about.
“She had been a little skeptical when she read the title, but she read it and immediately said, ‘I love this,’ and she said, ‘When I have dinner with my girlfriends, this is all we are talking about.'”
Kasdan mused, “It’s like this phenomenon, this juncture in life, especially when we have little kids. All of our close friends have kids, from babies up to age eight or ten, that’s where we are living right now. We dig it, but it’s definitely full of all the different issues, and you go, I’m like the parent person now! Yes, I love it, but also I love what things were like before that.
“[Sex Tape] seemed so relevant and universal. That was the reason to make this movie, ” Kasdan concluded.
As a feminist and a mother, I will admit I had some trepidation with covering a movie with this provocative title. But rest assured, the taping of the sex by the married couple in the film is all the wife’s idea.
I asked Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel if it was important to them in the movie and script that the sex tape is initiated by the woman.
Diaz nodded and answered emphatically, “We liked that a lot. You would assume in this sexist world we live in, she must have been pushed into it, because what woman wants to have sex, right? The fact is she is the one who says let’s go and do this. I think this lets women own their desires and needs.”
Segel agreed. “Nick [his screenwriting partner Nicholas Stoller] and I have always said that we are the least macho male writers in Hollywood. It’s always been important to Nick and I to serve our female characters really well and not try to objectify any of our characters.
He leaned forward and reflected, “When we were writing for Emily Blunt in The Five-Year Engagement we tried to make her a full rich character. In Forgetting Sarah Marshall too it was important to us that Kristen Bell had her scene where she got to say, ‘No! &@#% you! You didn’t get off the couch!’ So it’s always been really important to us.
“But having [Sex Tape] be a female-driven script was really exciting because it’s really easy to fall into the pitfall of objectifying. Of course, of course, I [his character, Jay] want to make the sex tape.” Segel laughed. “But it would feel like a different thing, like Jay pressuring Annie into making this sex tape. It could even whitewash it across the board. But to get to the reality of it: both of these people really want to be having sex with each other. They are both sitting, separately, thinking we should be having more sex and no one is doing anything about it.”
However, let us not all forget that this is a comedy. The main goal of the movie is to make the audience crack up, and in this goal the film completely succeeds.
A fellow blogger asked Diaz about appearing nude in the film, and she breezily blew it off. “It’s just silly. We are just making a comedy. We are not actually naked.” Another blogger remarked that we do see her bare bottom in Sex Tape. “Ah, that’s my bum. I wear teeny tiny bikinis. If I’m wearing a bikini you see the bottom half of the crack but if I’m wearing a pair of jeans you see the top half of the crack.”
Segel helped her out and interjected, “This time you see continuous crack!”
Diaz said that as it was a comedy, the sex scenes did not make her uncomfortable. “There were all these extras around, it’s ridiculous, it’s not really sexy. It is more like a locker room vibe, like high fives, and for me, the hardest part was trying not to laugh, trying to get through the whole take without laughing,” she said.
There was a ton of laughing throughout the roundtable interviews, and of course, while watching the film. Rob Lowe, who plays Diaz’s prospective boss in the flick was particularly incredible, and there is also a special cameo at the end of the film that was tears-in-your-eyes hilarious and I will leave you to discover.
I can say with complete confidence that there will be no sex tapes in my future, but I thoroughly enjoyed my Sex Tape experience.
If you all enjoy reading entertainment industry interviews, let me know, and I will include them more frequently here on the blog!