Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Object Of My Affection

So far, the stars of Friends haven't been able to draw crowds to theaters the way they draw viewers to televisions. Jennifer Aniston, however, is probably that show's most versatile actor, and in turn the most likely to escape typecasting. Her Friends character doesn't have a gimmick that limits our perception, a quandary many of her co-stars face. She's the only Friend who's not a sitcom cartoon, and her occasional film work benefits from her apparent lack of definable grounding. The Object Of My Affection, based on the novel by Stephen McCauley, is Aniston's second starring role, and she couldn't have picked a more serious venue for her talents. The film is being marketed as a romantic comedy, but it's neither romantic nor funny. Instead, The Object Of My Affection is a sad tale of Aniston's unrequited love for gay friend Paul Rudd, Alicia Silverstone's pseudo-incestuous love interest in Clueless. When Aniston finds out she is pregnant, she dumps boyfriend John Pankow—we know he is wrong for her because he's balding, a lawyer, and named Vince—and asks Rudd to raise the child with her. After all, in these PC '90s, who needs sex to have a relationship? Who needs to be married to raise a family? Well, Aniston does, and she grows increasingly despondent as her pregnancy proceeds. Furthermore, she knows she is losing Rudd to another man, Amo Gulinello, who is in the midst of a similarly unconsummated relationship with theater critic Nigel Hawthorne. Hawthorne, so great in The Madness Of King George (directed, like this film, by Nicholas Hytner), is an actor of such obvious magnitude that when he's on screen, the surrounding actors seem, well, better suited for TV. But aside from that, Rudd and Aniston are sad and believable as star-crossed lovers who know they can never be together for reasons beyond their control.

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