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Julia Roberts now in semi-retirement and Meg Ryan and Sandra Bullock in their 40s, Witherspoon is pretty much the only leading lady in her 30s with any measurable mass appeal. Certainly, among the actresses of her generation — Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron, Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet — she's the only one with both a hugely successful comedy franchise on her résumé and a golden man on her mantel. ''Nobody else has her range,'' says Mark Waters, who directed Witherspoon in her last comedy, 2005's Just Like Heaven. ''Those other actresses are great, but you can't see them doing pratfalls. Reese can win an Oscar and do a pratfall.'' - - from Benjamin Svetkey's Entertainment Weekly Fall Movie Guide piece on Reese Witherspoon.

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