Biggest problem. Diaz hasn't been consistently discerning or choosy about her roles. After the too-routine Summer 2010 action comedy flop "Knight and Day," which reunited her pleasurably with Tom Cruise, she pulled herself, and a surprise hit, together the following year as a foul-mouthed, morally heedless educator in "Bad Teacher" (2011). Many of her characters are air-headed women (e.g. in "The Sweetest Thing") and unfortunately, audiences can't always separate the art from the artist, and Diaz almost damned herself by becoming a rom-com regular.
Gossip fodder. While the bubbly blonde could easily have attracted gossip flypaper, Diaz hasn't courted too much controversy in her twenty-year-long career. Named the richest Hispanic female celebrity by Forbes in 2010, Diaz came under siege for her outsize politics in support of Al Gore in the 2000 election. In 2007, rumors about her romance with then-boyfriend Justin Timberlake ran rampant, with a cheating scandal to boot. In a recent interview for "The Other Woman," she expressed skepticism about monogamy, telling InStyle, "We all have the same instincts as animals." Her remarks have become something of a meme among traffic-baiting internet rags but that's about as scandalous as it gets for Diaz.
Career advice. Diaz does a strong, unflappable woman almost as well as she does a hot mess, and while "The Other Woman" isn't exactly an affirmation of either, the good news is that she's back on the block. It'd be nice to see her fitted in more roles like her villainous scene-stealers in "Vanilla Sky" and "Bad Teacher." Seek smart, well-written and directed roles, whether genre--she can handle action--romantic or indie, but beware the look of desperate career reinvention. Diaz has never been an unvarnished method actress, so why change her tune? She's a Hollywood star who clearly doesn't need to chase a paycheck, so more Malkina in "The Counselor," please.
Next step. Will Gluck's controversial screen version of the musical "Annie," starring Cameron Diaz as Miss Hannigan (ideal casting!), is in post-production, as is Jake Jasdan's "Sex Tape." Meanwhile, "Bad Teacher 2" is in its nascent stages.