It pains me to write this, but: Cameron Diaz has had a rough few years, career-wise. For the past half-decade, she’s starred mostly in films that failed critically, commercially, or both. The role call: Sex Tape, The Other Woman, The Counselor, Gambit (which wasn’t even released theatrically in the US), What to Expect When You’re Expecting, The Green Hornet, Knight and Day, and The Box. (A few exceptions: Bad Teacher, which got mixed reviews but grossed over $100 million—enough to inspire both a quickly-canceled CBS sitcom and a sequel, which is still in development—My Sister’s Keeper, which landed more with a “meh” than a thud, and Shrek Forever After, which of course made approximately one bajillion dollars.)
Despite all this, though, Diaz still carries an A-list sheen; hearing that she’s coming back to SNL doesn’t inspire the same trepidation as hearing that, say, her costar in The Mask was returning to the show. Why? Maybe because no matter what’s happened over the past two decades or so, Diaz still seems like the ultimate Cool Girl—both in the Gillian Flynn sense, and also according to a more general definition of the term (a likable woman). Seeing her pop up on screen is sort of like seeing an old friend—even if you can’t really remember the last time you and that friend did something really fun together.