The “new” Renee Zellweger looks nice these days. Pretty, relaxed, well-tended. But the fact that she bears little if any resemblance to the actress who starred in Jerry Maguire, Cold Mountain, Bridget Jones Diary and Chicago has caught people’s attention. And wouldn’t you know it but Zellweger and Hollywood Elsewhere will probably cross paths next Monday (10.27) at the Savannah Film Festival. (I’ll be there between Friday, 10.24 and Tuesday, 10.28.) Why is her “work” getting all this attention now, a week before she shows up in Savannah with guys like me hanging around? What, for that matter, has Ms. Zellweger done lately? I’m in no way chuckling or making light of the fact that her career has been slowing down. It happens. It’s tough. There but for the grace of God.

But in a very real appearance sense the Zellweger of 10 or 15 years ago has been pretty much erased. The spirit and personality are presumably still intact, of course, but I really, genuinely, honest-to-God don’t recognize her…although she does look pleasant and attractive as far as those terms go. The eyes, the jaw…really strange.

First-rate “work” is supposed to enhance, de-sag and de-age so subtly that people notice a certain improvement without wondering how or chattering behind your back. That’s how it used to be, at least. Maybe the new aesthetic is “don’t make yourself look slightly younger…throw your entire face out in the trash and start over clean with a nice, fresh newbie.” Imagine what Rod Serling would make of this.

(L.) before & (r.) after