Jennifer Aniston has always been my favourite “Friend.” I was fairly disappointed with Picture Perfect, her first film where she held a leading role. I knew that Aniston could do much better than that. So, when I saw the previews for The Object of My Affection, my heart was aglow with anticipation. I hoped that The Object of My Affection would be much better than Picture Perfect.
Nina Borowski (Jennifer Aniston) is a social worker in the Bronx. She is dating an obnoxious loud mouth jerk, Vince (John Pankow). At a dinner party hosted by Nina’s step-sister, Nina meets George (Paul Rudd) who is a first grade teacher. Nina finds out that George’s current lover, Robert Joley (Tim Daly), is about to leave him. She thinks that it would be nice to a roommate and what better to have a gay roommate?
After George moves in, he and Nina find that they have a lot in common. They find themselves at the local community center taking dancing lessons. They find themselves eating ice cream in bed together watching old movies. They find themselves at the amusement park together. They are best friends. But, Nina feels something that George doesn’t and can’t return; she is in love with George.
Nina and George’s relationship also puts a strain on Nina and Vince’s relationship. Nina’s pregnancy by Vince pushes the strain of their relationship overboard and they breakup. Nina decides that she doesn’t want a jerk like Vince raising the child but would like to have George fill in as the father. George is ecstatic about being able to be a plug-in dad for a child.
What Nina discovers is that though she is trying to keep her relationship with George platonic, she is becoming more and more jealous of George and his newfound lover, Paul James (Amo Gulinello).
The Object of My Affection rests on having the relationship between Nina and George seem genuine. With Aniston and Rudd in these parts the relationship is very real. I thought that Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan had some good screen chemistry in City of Angels, but this puts Cage and Ryan to shame. I’m sure Cage’s angel would give up his wings for screen chemistry like that between Aniston and Rudd; it just seems so cute.
Aniston redeems her Picture Perfect performance with The Object of My Affection. She is given a lot more to do in the newer movie and she rises to the challenge. Aniston has a luminosity about her that makes her seem so alive and friendly. Rudd is wonderful as George. He gives enough of a performance to overcome the boring role that he was given.
Most of the minor characters are thin and non-memorable. However, two stand out: Alan Alda’s name-dropping, publishing mogul step-brother-in-law and Nigel Hawthorne’s gay theatre critic. It is Hawthorne’s character that makes the movie’s theme clear near the end of the film.
The Object of My Affection starts out as a romantic comedy but about halfway through changes to become a thoughtful romantic drama. It is a film that explores the relationship between a gay man and a straight woman without putting either of them in a stereotypical role as we saw in My Best Friend’s Wedding or In and Out. With this said, The Object of My Affection is also a commercial film and some of the scenes feel contrived - especially the ending. But, this is a small complaint because we are not as focused on these things as we are on the relationship between Nina and George.
Director Nicholas Hytner is able to keep the film moving along, though parts of the middle section loses focus and seem to drag along. Hytner is able to grab our emotions occasionally throughout the film but is not able to sustain this.
The Object of My Affection is a wonderful film that explores themes like love, sex, and friendship. It does a good job with each. I’m happy that Jennifer Aniston was able to do this film where she is the star instead of her cleavage, as was the case in Picture Perfect. Aniston shines in The Object of My Affection and with the outstanding performance from Paul Rudd, these two are able to make The Object of My Affection a Don’t Miss film. Don’t Miss The Object of My Affection and don’t forget to take a loved one with you.
Edited by Cher Johnson.