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Did Love Hewitt slim down for publicity's sake?

Despite an impassioned speech urging curvy women to show off their bodies and be proud of how they look, Jennifer Love Hewitt has dropped 18 pounds in recent weeks.

After being scrutinized last winter for photos that revealed a less-than-svelte bikini body, Jennifer Love Hewitt implored “girls with butts, boobs, hips and a waist” to “put on a bikini — put it on and stay strong.”

That sentiment of size acceptance is what is making her sudden 18-pound weight loss headline news.

The actress is on the cover of this week’s Us Weekly, where she flaunts losing 18 pounds in 10 weeks.

How’d she do it? "I am in a pretty good workout regimen that I like, so it inspired me to keep it up," Hewitt told Us.

Why did she do it? Her trainer Steve Sant’Angelo told the magazine it didn’t have to do with looking “good in that dress.”

One magazine insider says that might be true, but good publicity is also behind it.

“The moment those pictures broke, a light bulb went off over the heads of many magazine editors — ‘How long until the weight-loss story?’ was the question. Weight loss always sells on the newsstands, and let’s face it, we wouldn’t have much reason to talk about (Hewitt) if she hadn’t done this.”

Paris Hilton cooks?Paris Hilton’s ad didn’t just reveal that she’s capable of partaking in a witty swipe at the McCain camp — the spot also revealed that she’s a woman of many television-production talents.

First, we learned that Hilton has a mind like a steel trap; she allegedly taped the entire spot sans cue cards (although some refute this claim).

Now comes news that she also worked hair, makeup and catering.

“She did her own hair and makeup, and made us turkey sandwiches for lunch,” director Chris Henchy told Us magazine.

Turkey sandwiches? Paris Hilton and deli meats? If that doesn’t sound right to you, you aren’t alone.

“The lady’s got a fridge full of Red Bull,” says one incredulous friend of Hilton’s. “She’s not the type to cut crusts for strangers. But stranger things have happened.”

Cruise film changes date
The release date for Tom Cruise’s World War II thriller “Valkyrie" has been moved from its planned opening on Feb. 13, 2009, and will now open Dec. 26, 2008.

Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. on the "Let's Be Cops," red carpet, Selena Gomez is immortalized in wax and more.

Some insiders suspected the switch took place to allow the film to be released in time for Oscar consideration; the studio (Cruise’s own United Artists) says the change was made for commercial reasons only.

This is good news for Cruise, who just lost his UA partner Paula Wagner. There’s been some negative buzz surrounding Wagner’s departure and whether it had to do with a personal conflict between Cruise and Wagner, but Cruise says that the two are on good terms.

“I love Paula, we have worked together and been friends for over 25 years," says Cruise. "I support her in anything she does. Paula is an incredibly smart and talented producer and I look forward to working together producing films in the future."

Anna Faris wasn't mocking Diaz
Anna Faris might be best known for her roles in the “Scary Movie” franchise, but Faris, who appears in the upcoming “House Bunny,” also had a part in “Lost in Translation.” Though the role was small, she’s still fielding questions about it.

Faris told this month’s Playboy that she was “blindsided” by claims that her "Translation" role as a shallow blond actress was meant as a parody of Cameron Diaz.

“I auditioned, without having read the script, pretty much exactly the way I played it in the movie… when the movie came out eight or nine months later and these questions started coming, I felt blindsided,” Faris tells Playboy. “I felt blindsided. I felt defensive at first, because I would know if I was knocking somebody. I felt so terrible about the whole thing.

‘Gossip Girl’ couple, enough with the PDABlake Lively and Penn Badgley’s off-screen relationship is starting to wear on their "Gossip Girl" castmates.

I like this item for the succinct, leave-no-room-for-interpretation reporting from Life & Style. “People are getting sick of watching them suck face during and between scenes,” the mag reports.

Weekend box office
I’m a little gun-shy after being let down by “Pineapple Express” last weekend, but I’m not going to overthink things. I feel pretty good about predicting that “Tropic Thunder” will knock "Dark Knight" out of the box-office top spot.

First of all, the studio is estimating a $40 million weekend, which is solid. Also, there’s good buzz, thanks to the Cruise cameo and Robert Downey Jr.’s role in the film. There’s controversy, which doesn’t hurt, and lastly, there’s female appeal that’s probably been underestimated.

Look for "Thunder" to eke past “Pineapple Express” and surpass this week’s other big release, “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.”