The Object of My Affection-1998
Starring Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd
Scott’s Review #1,249
Reviewed April 24, 2022
The Object of My Affection (1998) is a romantic comedy riddled with the standard cliches and obvious situation setups of similar types of film. As a whole, it is plot-driven rather than character-driven.
The redeeming factor is that it adds a left of center approach and delves into LGBTQ territory, albeit in a soft touch, which more mainstream American films were only starting to do in the late 1990s.
The best part of the film is the casting of Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd who have tremendous chemistry as a potential couple who has no chance of riding off into the sunset together. At least in any romantic sort of way.
He is gay and she is straight and nothing can change that.
Though fluffy, The Object of My Affection deserves some level of praise. Several gay men can easily relate to a situation where he finds a female friend enamored with him and experiences a return of affection differently.
It’s common to fantasize about what might have been if feelings were different and as the film explores, even try to go straight.
The film itself has a definite Will & Grace vibe, a popular television program emerging at this time, and even has the same location. The main characters become the very best of friends, watching movies together and sharing intimate moments just like a romantic couple would do.
The late 1990s was a time when gay characters took the center stage so The Object of My Affection gets a thumbs up for being part of the herd.
Nina Borowski (Jennifer Aniston) lives in Brooklyn, New York, and works as a social worker. She invites her new gay friend, George (Paul Rudd), to move into her apartment after he breaks up with his longtime lover, Robert (Tim Daly).
Meanwhile, Nina gets pregnant and decides to keep the baby, but ends her relationship with the child’s father, her controlling boyfriend Vince (John Pankow).
As Nina and George live and experience her pregnancy together, they grow close and Nina realizes she’s beginning to fall in love with her friend.
Aniston and Rudd work well together as a couple, friends or otherwise, and the chemistry tones are terrific. Even during the sappiest of scenes, and there are many of them, I always smiled a bit at their bond.
When Nina and George have the inevitable dramatic scene and express their feelings it doesn’t feel as forced as one might expect. Their bond is solidified and the film unsurprisingly has the pair remain in each other’s lives, presumably forever.
In satisfying form, Nina and George do ride off into the sunset along with little Molly but in solid relationships with other mates. Each character finds their destiny and soulmate while keeping in each other’s life.
While nice, there are many hurdles the filmmakers could have gone further with but don’t. The message is clear- regardless of sexuality, race, religion, or politics, a friend is a friend and a bond is meant to be forever.
It’s a warm message which is the basis for what the intent was and the film delivers a heartfelt story that eases the conflict of real-life and perhaps that is needed sometimes.
As much as The Object of My Affection (1998) has its heart in the right place with a progressive and inclusive slant, the film is bogged down by standard cliches and a fairy tale ending.
It’s a nice, fulfilling fantasy film but skates over hard-hitting realistic issues in favor of kid gloves type situations making it feel dated nearly twenty-five years later.
Other films in the years ahead would supersede the premise and take it to different and more interesting levels delving outside the box further and further.
But, a nice attempt.