Most of us couldn’t imagine a more humiliating scenario than losing track of a private sex tape. Perhaps the thought of even making one gives you the giggles. For the married couple facing such woes at the heart of “Sex Tape,” a raunchy new comedy hitting theaters July 18, however, it’s actually the mortifying fallout that helps rekindle their romance more effectively than anything “The Joy of Sex” has to offer. Of course, that certainly doesn’t mean they don’t give the classic book’s advice an admirable, and often uproarious, try…after try…after try.
Hey, the movie isn’t called “Sex Tape” for nothing.
Stars Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel, along with director Jake Kasdan, were on hand for roundtable interviews at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills this week, and all three discussed why “Sex Tape” serves as more than an exhibition platform and actually offers perhaps the best relationship lessons you’ll find at the movies this summer.
Segel explained why the film’s honesty and unexpected tenderness might inspire real couples to look beyond the more slapstick comedic elements and derive meaning from the story’s outcome.
“I think what’ll happen, as opposed to the actual making of a sex tape, which may happen for some couples,” Segel laughed, “is I think that you’ll get back in your car with your date or your husband or wife, and as you’re driving home you’ll have a laugh about some of the funny things that were in the movie, and then there’ll be a slightly awkward pause where you’ll drive in silence for a minute. And then the real discussion will start about, like, ‘You know, we haven’t had as much sex as we used to.’ And I think that’s a really good function of the movie, to start that conversation.“
Diaz agreed, noting, “Maybe we need to communicate our needs a little bit more.”
It seems unlikely for a movie with such a straightforward title and concept to be capable of touching upon deeper aspects of the human condition, but Kasdan, who has three small children with wife Inara George, pointed out how the script’s relatable themes drew him to the project.
“Part of the appeal to me is that it was a really funny way of looking at something so universal and human, which is, how does a relationship maintain itself through a marriage, years and years, and kids and your lives and all of that?” Kasdan began. “I think the big comedy idea lets you get to it in a kinda cool way. We knew we had to approach it with a careful hand so that the sex wouldn’t overpower the comedy and the content.”
One way Kasdan ensured his vision would have depth was by enlisting the help of two capable actors with whom he was already personally and professionally familiar. Having starred in Kasdan’s 2011 hit “Bad Teacher” meant Segel and Diaz had no need to concern themselves with any ice-breaking pleasantries, and arrived at the “Sex Tape” set ready to bare all – literally and figuratively. Diaz was particularly nonchalant about her character’s nudity, and assured reporters the process of filming the movie’s many relatively graphic sex scenes was no more uncomfortable than a typical day at the office.
“Well, they’re silly. They’re just silly. We’re making a comedy,” she declared, before switching her tone to a mock whisper. “We’re not actually naked.”
Segel nodded, confirming, “When we were shooting the movie, we were wearing these modesty garments that, from the front, actually look like a bikini. It’s, like, no more risqué than a bikini. But then the back is exposed, which I think could be a great new fashion trend.”
“I think Rihanna already did it,” Diaz quipped.
The comedic banter between Segel and Diaz during the interview made it simple to understand why their camaraderie translates so easily onscreen. Segel acknowledged the connection and explained why he trusted his co-star to take liberty with the “Sex Tape” screenplay he co-wrote with Kate Angelo and longtime collaborator Nicholas Stoller.
“You really need your script to be sound enough so when you show up on set, if nothing new happens, it’s good and it’s ready to go. But then what you hope when you hire someone like Cameron, who’s so dynamic and fast on her feet and funny and smart … we’ve always had a mentality that if [the actor] knows how to do it funnier, then do it funnier.”
The farcical content on display throughout much of “Sex Tape” affirms Segel’s point that the funny comes first. However, Kasdan revealed it’s what’s underneath the movie’s outrageous exterior that viewers will perhaps remember – and value – most.
“Right when we were finally getting ready to start I showed [the script] to my wife,” he revealed. “She read it and I think she had been a little skeptical because of the title, but she finished it and immediately said, ‘I love this. When I have dinner with my girlfriends, this is all we’re talking about.’”
“Sex Tape” hits theaters nationwide Friday, July 18.
Coverage brought to you by Surf and Sunshine Entertainment Journalist Erin Biglow. Thank you to Sony Pictures for providing access. All opinions are original.