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The Object of My Affection

Now that we have Will and Grace in our living rooms every week, The Object of My Affection feels like old hat; the idea of straight woman and a gay man sharing an apartment — and a life — doesn't even rate a raised eyebrow. Admittedly, Grace hasn't (yet) asked Will to help her raise her ex-boyfriend's baby, as social worker Nina (Jennifer Aniston) pleads with her best friend/roommate George (Paul Rudd) to do in Object, but who knows what plot twists the folks at NBC will come up with next? Of course, if Will and Grace ever were to go the family route, it's unlikely the show would tell the story with Object's bittersweet dramedy. Playwright Wendy Wasserstein's script — generally smart, though a wee bit manipulative at times and not entirely cliché-free — offers Rudd and Aniston plenty of emotion-filled moments to explore their relationship, as well as what their situation means to society and to their friends and family (the strong supporting cast includes Alan Alda, The West Wing's Allison Janney, John Pankow, Tim Daly, Steve Zahn, and the late, great Nigel Hawthorne). What Nina and George discover is that it's one thing to defy convention and make up your own rules, but it's entirely another to cobble a family together without putting your feelings on the line (especially when one of you is in love with the other, and the other falls for a cute young actor). Aniston and Rudd are both appealing, though Aniston, who plays Nina stronger and smarter than her Friends alter ego, still can't quite shake off her "Rachel" persona — as per usual in her film roles. Director Nicholas Hytner paces the film well, though a few of the Nina-and-George-talking scenes feel a little forced ("hmm — too much talking, not enough action...let's put them on a roller coaster!"). In the end, Object of My Affection is a sweet Saturday-night-in-front-of-the-tube romance that, while it doesn't quite redefine any conventions, offers an appealing look at the line between love and friendship. Fox's DVD offers a clean anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio that definitely is up to the challenge of the movie's pithy one-liners and weepy confessions (other audio options include English 2.0, French 2.0, and English and Spanish subtitles). Four TV spots, behind-the-scenes featurette, trailers. Keep-case.
—Betsy Bozdech

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