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Renee Zellweger in 'Bridget Jones's Diary'

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Fat suit? Renee Zellweger didn’t need no stinking fat suit. Leave the latex to Julia and Gwyneth; to play the plump, perpetually single heroine of Bridget Jones’s Diary, Zellweger, 32, pigged out on pizza and French bread until there were 20 actual extra pounds on her slight frame. But the beauty of Zellweger’s performance wasn’t just about her cellulite. Bridget is, in many ways, a fool — and Zellweger embraced the unflattering awkwardness, crushing humiliation (”You’ll never get a boyfriend if you look like you’ve wandered out of Auschwitz,” chides mum), and sheer desperation of Miss Jones’ life as a ”spinster and lunatic.” Whether caterwauling karaoke or running through snowy London streets in tiger-striped undies, Zellweger allowed herself to be captured on celluloid looking and acting like a Real Person with Real Flaws — not to mention unsightly ”stomach-holding-in panties.” Both singletons and smug marrieds couldn’t help but fall for the actress’ humanity, her discomfiting but familiar vulnerability. And to think we all had doubts that an American — for God’s sake, a Texan — could portray England’s neurotic national treasure. It turns out Zellweger was an ideal Bridget — and, to paraphrase suitor Mark Darcy, we loved her, just as she is.