Jackson Lee / Splash News
Jackson Lee / Splash News

Promotional ploy for their upcoming movie or something more? Renee Zellweger and Bradley Cooper turned up at an Italian restaurant in New York City on Tuesday night, the second time the "Case 39" co-stars have been spied together in recent days. Last week, they were photographed sharing an awkward clinch in Paris, where the "Hangover" actor insisted to reporters that Jennifer Aniston, whom he had a tabloid-topping dinner date with on June 18, is "simply, simply, just a friend."

For Cooper, the rendezvous with Zellweger was like an instant replay of his evening out with Jen: They, too, shared an Italian meal in NYC that was conveniently captured by the paparazzi.

According to reports, Bradley and Renee's bread-breaking (or whatever caloric- and carb-light menu item the lovely, sylphlike Oscar winner nibbled on) looked to be more than just a couple of former co-workers catching up.

"He pulled her chair out for her when she sat down and he kissed her on the hand," a spy tells OK! magazine of the pair's noshing session at a quiet corner table. "If they're just friends, they were being awfully affectionate!"

There was even some coquettish tress fondling.

"Throughout the dinner they were playful and flirty," continues the observant onlooker, whose meal likely went untouched while detailing their body language. "She played with her hair a lot, and she would often touch his arm when she was making a point about something."

Also on the menu: touchy-feely close-talking.

"At one point, he seemed to want to whisper something to her as if it were a secret," says the source. "He spoke into her ear and then they both started giggling."

A mole adds to Us Weekly that Zellweger "was grinning ear-to-ear and laughing really loud" as they ate, while Cooper "kept moving closer to her and slouching in his seat ... He seemed to be hanging onto Renee's every word. They were lost in their own little world."

After chowing down, they enjoyed some tea and conversation, but Bradley's sweet-talking skills may be a bit rusty.

OK! says that when he realized Zellweger had surreptitiously picked up the check ("She told him she wanted to buy him dinner to pay him back for something," the snitch tells the mag), he laughingly exclaimed, "You [bleep]-er!"

The duo then had a quick confab about which one should call the other before they exited separately to avoid the waiting shutterbugs.

No word on whether they're just friends or budding flames, but the suddenly sought-after Cooper, 34, appears to have a type when it comes to female companions: Zellweger, like Aniston, is 40 and has been single since a very public breakup in 2005, when she annulled her blink-and-you'll-miss-it marriage to country crooner Kenny Chesney.

More on Wonderwall:

A gallery of kissing co-stars

The week in crazy celebrity photos

Beach Cruising: Paris Hilton, Hilary Duff, and other celebs show some skin on the beach