The Mask was a smash hit, grossing $350 million worldwide on a budget of $18 million, meaning Cameron Diaz became one of the most in-demand actresses in the industry almost overnight. Though they’re not the box office gold they used to be, romantic comedies were still big in the ’90s and early 2000s, and headlining them was often an actress’ best shot at staking out a long and lucrative career. It’s a path that real-life movie stars Julia Roberts and Meg Ryan have followed, and Diaz has embarked on a similar path. Initially, she took supporting roles in films such as She’s the One and My Best Friend’s Wedding, playing second fiddle to Jennifer Aniston and the aforementioned Julia Roberts. But in 1998 Diaz – who has an edgier sensibility than other rom-com queens – starred in one all by herself, the unequivocally R-rated “There’s Something About Mary”.
The Farrelly Brothers’ raunchy rom-com was an even bigger hit than The Mask and made Diaz an even bigger star. Over the next 15 years, she appeared in a variety of comedic romance and womanizing films ranging from the tame to the cheesy, including The Sweetest Thing, What Happens in Vegas, In Her Shoes, The Holiday, “What to Expect When You’re Pregnant”, “Sex Tape” and “The Other Woman”. Some made more money and got better reviews than others, but if Diaz’s name and face were on the poster, there was a good chance audiences would be interested.