Watching Shrek the Third this week I was reminded that I have, on occasion, been truly entertained by — and sometimes impressed with — Cameron Diaz. More often she annoys me, but for this week's Movie Night I'm highlighting three movies in which I think Diaz does a great job.
Being John Malkovich
Hands down, this is my favorite role I've seen Diaz play, perhaps because she doesn't rely on her wide goofy smile or generic beauty for it. In fact, she looks so totally not like Cameron Diaz, I always forget it's her. What's more, I get the impression from watching her that she forgets herself, which is extraordinarily refreshing. In this bizarrely entertaining film, Diaz plays Lotte, the dowdy, oddball wife to Craig (John Cusack), a puppeteer who discovers a portal to John Malkovich's brain.
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Things You Can Tell Just By Looking at Her
Admittedly, Diaz's role in this film is fairly small, but I believe Diaz adds something sweet to the movie, which I love. The movie is like a compilation of short stories, told in a series of vignettes. In the one that features Diaz titled "Love Waits for Kathy," she plays a blind woman named Carol, who lives with her sister Kathy (Amy Brenneman). Carol ventures into the world of dating, forcing Kathy to confront her own sense of loneliness, particularly after a childhood friend commits suicide. The movie features several other amazing actresses, such as Holly Hunter and Glenn Close.
In Her Shoes
Diaz's character in this movie is often catty, thoughtless, immature and oh-so-easy to hate, which Diaz carries off perfectly. Based on the novel by Jennifer Weiner, the story follows two sisters: Maggie (Diaz) the childish party girl who can't hold down a job, and Rose (Toni Collette), the stable one with a quiet life. When Maggie manages to ruin Rose's relationship with her boyfriend, Rose declares it the last straw and throws her sister out. So Maggie tracks down a grandmother (Shirley MacLaine) she'd never met, and learns a thing or two about responsibility while living with her at an elderly community. The film has moments of cutesiness, but also a nice message about redemption and forgiveness. And as manipulative as it may be, the last part with the reading of an e.e. cummings poem makes me cry like a little baby.