The Object of My Affection (1998)

Paul Rudd and Jennifer AnistonStarring Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd, Alan Alda, Tim Daly, John Pankow, Allison Janney, and Nigel Hawthorne.
Screenplay by Wendy Wasserstein, based on the novel by Stephen McCauley.
Directed by Nicholas Hynter.

Grade: B-

Review by Carlo Cavagna.

For the first 45 minutes or so, The Object of My Affection unfolds like a standard romantic comedy, complete with the dreaded musical montage. Girl (Nina) is unhappy in her relationship; Boy (George) and Girl meet and become friends; Boy is dumped; Boy moves into Girl's spare room, and Boy and Girl fall for one another. Then Girl, who is pregnant, asks Boy to help her raise her child. Ah, but there's trouble in Romantic ComedyLand! Did I mention that Boy is gay? The last hour of the film becomes surprisingly complex. Suddenly you're not watching a romantic comedy, but more of a comedic drama. Object of My Affection explores some difficult issues, and it has the courage to face them head-on, without a cop-out ending. Rudd and Aniston

The cast is drawn largely from T.V. sitcoms. Like her or hate her, Jennifer Aniston ("Friends") was of course born for roles like Nina, and Paul Rudd turns in a respectable performance as George. John Pankow (Ira from "Mad About You"), who specializes in playing characters who are highly annoying but really not bad people, is Vince, the father of Nina's child-to-be. Tim Daly ("Wings") is the arrogant Dr. Joley, the man who dumps George, while Alan Alda ("M.A.S.H.") and Allison Janney are particularly amusing as relatives who try to run Nina's life. Finally, Nigel Hawthorne deserves a special mention. Although he doesn't appear until the story is half over, he steals every scene he's in and bestows upon the movie its title in an eloquent exchange with Jennifer Aniston over Thanksgiving dinner.

Review © March 1999 by AboutFilm.Com and the author.
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