Fame Audit: Cameron Diaz

NAME: Cameron Diaz

AUDIT DATE: November 6, 2000

AGE: 28

OCCUPATION: Actor

EXPERIENCE: 22 movies since 1994

Assessment

What can we say about a model-turned-actress whose career climax came (as it were) when she used artificial spooge as styling gel?

After an opening like that…really, not much.

Cameron Diaz is not the first attractive woman of middling talent to achieve career success as an actor. And she has succeeded — both financially (commanding $12,000,000 for the big-screen remake of Charlie’s Angels, and critically (in last year’s Being John Malkovich). She’s been featured on the covers of countless glossy rags, often proudly displaying the crack of her ass (as she also did at this year’s MTV Movie Awards). And every time you see that huge grin of hers, you just know she’s got the world on a string. Or, by the tail. Or something.

Especially now, in the blitz of publicity surrounding the release of Charlie’s Angels, as she turns up on TRL holding hands with her comely colleagues, and appears in promo after promo wagging her ass at the camera, doing the Robot, or cheerfully instructing a UPS dude to “feel free to stick things in [her] slot,” we really have to ask whether Cameron Diaz merits all the attention she gets.

The first claim that Diaz supporters will make is that she is beautiful. And, of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and who are we to say she isn’t? But in this beholder’s eye, Diaz isn’t really that pretty. In fact, she has a bit of the pug about her. Back in the My Best Friend’s Wedding era, one of the critics at Girls On Film described Diaz as having “a face like a shriveled pea” — a description we remember all these three years later because we thought it so apt at the time. A great body? Yes. That we grant. A pretty face? Eh, not so much.

Then, there’s Diaz’s reputation as a comic actress — a veritable Carole Lombard for the millennium. Of course, Carole Lombard never had to share the stage with a terrier in a body cast. And other than the widely fêted There’s Something About Mary — in which she was upstaged by the dog, the spooge, the overly tanned neighbor, the retarded brother, Jonathan Richman, Chris Elliott, and Brett Favre — and Wedding — in which all she had to do was…not be evil, and sing really badly — Diaz’s comic career has been a series of misses interspersed with a tiny handful of hits. In The Last Supper, Feeling Minnesota, She’s the One, A Life Less Ordinary, Very Bad Things, and Any Given Sunday, Diaz plays variations of the same ice princess/cast-iron bitch archetype, only melting into a redeemed human being in some of the above. Far more often than she plays a sparkling, grinning comedy writer’s wet dream, Diaz plays a snarling, screeching ball-breaker. Don’t get us wrong — we’re not saying she’s any better attempting the latter than she is the former, but at least as a ball-breaker, she has more professional experience.

This week, Diaz added “leaping, kicking crime fighter” to the shortlist of types she’s played — although, really, in Charlie’s Angels, her ability to perform choreographed kicks while suspended in a body harness is secondary to her ability to wear a succession of low-cut outfits displaying the wide expanse of the chest where her cleavage most decidedly is not. (We like to call that area her “tat,” because…well, you get it.) And it’s not that we begrudge Cameron Diaz her rightful piece of the schlocky-action-movie pie; it’s just that we don’t think she deserves any girl-power props or disproportionate praise for her alleged comic gifts when all she’s really done for us lately is act as an animate mannequin for a teeny, tiny wardrobe.

Assets

  • Gets cast in a lot of big-buzz movies
  • She’s a brick house. She’s mighty mighty, lettin’ it all hangout.
  • No longer dating Matt Dillon

Liabilities

  • Name means “Shrimp Days” in Spanish
  • Reportedly [insert “sniff-sniff” gesture here]
  • Can’t actually act

Fame Barometer

Current approximate level of fame: Jennifer Aniston

Deserved approximate level of fame: Rebecca Gayheart

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