The Object Of My Affection has been a surprise hit in the States, hovering around the top three when bigger-budget fare like Lost In Space and the omnipresent Titanic are supposed to be cleaning up. But the reason for its appeal is simple: this is a modern girl's fantasy. Can a gay best-friend turn into an ideal life-partner? Any woman, who's spent time comparing various choices of men and found her male gay friends to be perfect in every way (apart from the obvious shortcomings), can sympathise with Nina's dilemma.
The film (based on the novel of the same name, and adapted by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Wendy Wasserstein of The Heidi Chronicles fame) lingers on the two leads much as any regular rom-com might. Yet the obvious happy ending doesn't follow the tried-and-trusted formula.
The crassness that would have followed if George had become converted to full-blooded heterodom by the wishful Nina is thankfully avoided - although offscreen Aniston and Rudd did fall into each other's arms. Instead, he gets it together with another man and makes it clear that Nina could never be his true partner. Some neat support comes from Alan Alda (the husband of Nina's strangle-worthy sister), who plays his name-dropping book agent for as many laughs as he can get. And Nigel Hawthorne, as a theatre critic who shares Nina's habit of unrequited love, brings a dignity to his ensemble role and forms a bond with the heroine that ultimately becomes extremely important.
It's touching, funny and sweet, and apart from a distinctly icky ending, stands tall as one of the more realistic depictions of modern romance to come out of '90s Hollywood.
Aniston finally shakes off her Friends role to prove she has some big-screen star power. As the pivotal character in a love-story gone wrong, she carries a witty and gentle film that's a good alternative to the World Cup.
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