The Object of my Affection (15)

Directed by Nicholas Hytner
Starring Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd, Nigel Hawthorne, Alan Alda

Friends star Jennifer (the hair) Aniston has another go at cracking the big screen in this charmingly cute tale of social worker Nina who falls for her gay flat mate George(Rudd). It has become a bit of a cliche that all the nicest men are gay, but George is trememdously cute. A kindergarten teacher with a talent for dancing and being an all round great guy, George meets Nina after being invited to dinner by one of the rich parents of his class. He gets dumped by his boyfriend(Tim Daly) and moves into Nina's spare room, quickly bonding. She has a boyfriend, the good hearted but obnoxious Vince(John Pankow) by whom she them gets pregnant. However, Nina decides that she wants George to be a parent to her baby, and she also shows signs of falling for him. Matters get futher complicated when George meets a new man, Paul and his friend Nigel Hawthorne(Nick Hytner's UK pal).
While too short on laughs to be called a romantic comedy, there is a lot of humour from the supporting characters. Alan Alda and Allison Janney as Max and Constance, Annie's social climbing family are a hoot, indeed all the characters are well drawn and thoughtfully portrayed. I was also impressed with the story. It is a nicely set up situation, but the resolution was very satisfying- not that easy to do without being crass, over politically correct, too sentimental or patronising. While it isn't giving away too much to say it is a nice neat happy ending, the various people work things out in a believable and unpredictalbe way. Anniston is fine, although she doesn't stray too far from her Friends persona. Paul Rudd was a charmer. I liked him in Clueless as Alicia Silverstone's step brother, and again here he is very appealing and likeable. Gay characters in films have become more commonplace, and not just in films about being gay. The old days of a token camp gay character are gone(hopefully), and films like this that are about the situation of the characters and their pursuit of happiness rather than about coming out or prejudice are a welcome addition.
A sweet comedy, nice characters, good performances, well written. Recommended. 7/10>

July 1998

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