Cameron Diaz looks to reclaim her R-rated mojo


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She was last seen feeding popcorn to Alex Rodriguez in Cowboys Stadium, but Cameron Diaz will be up to something naughtier when her R-rated comedy ‘Bad Teacher’ open this June.

The red-band trailer for Jake Kasdan’s movie debuted this week. In the movie (which also, incidentally, comes with an ‘Office’ writing pedigree), Diaz plays a junior-high teacher who lusts after a fellow educator played by ex-beau Justin Timberlake while facing off with a rival, er, pedagogue.


It’s bawdy, though the first reports that Diaz has gone all-out hard-R were a tad breathless. The actress does reel off profanity, smokes pot and generally doesn’t give a fig (or an ‘F,’ as the trailer puts it). If you haven’t seen it, it’s funny in spots and sets up a promising set of comedic dynamics. It’s also the first school-set comedy in recent memory in which the adults are the main characters. (You can watch the trailer here; please be over 17.)

It’s been a long time since Diaz has resonated with a mass audience, or had a lead role in anything resembling a hit (‘Knight & Day,’ ‘The Box’ and ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ were her last three movies).

Although she’s become known for lighter comedy, the actress has, over her career, actually shown flashes of dramatic chops -- as the dowdy animal-lover with a transgendered side in ‘Being John Malkovich’; as an irresponsible sister in ‘In Her Shoes’; and even in ‘Sister’s Keeper,’ in which she played a mother devoted to her terminally ill daughter beyond the point of reason.

The snarling raunchiness of this movie won’t require Oscar-level talent -- and there will be those who say that the more aggressive bawdiness smacks of career desperation -- but there is something comeback-y about the role. ‘Bad Teacher’ takes Diaz away from the sunny chipper-ness that broke her out in ‘There’s Something About Mary’ but became tired when she recycled it too many times since. But it takes her away from all of that while still keeping her in a comedy, which has proved to be where we most like seeing her. Most Diaz movies and R-rated comedies have disappointed lately, but sometimes hope comes from an unlikely place, like a red-band trailer.

--Steven Zeitchik