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Fox Home Entertainment presents
The Object of My Affection (1998)

"And I don't think one should be too hard on oneself if the object of one's affection returns the favor with rather less enthusiasm than one might've hoped."
- Rodney (Nigel Hawthorne)

Review By: Joel Cunningham   
Published: January 08, 2002

Stars: Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd
Other Stars: Alan Alda, Nigel Hawthorne, John Pankow, Tim Daly, Allison Janney, Steve Zahn
Director: Nicholas Hytner

Manufacturer: DVCC
MPAA Rating: R for (strong language and some sexuality)
Run Time: 01h:51m:29s
Release Date: January 08, 2002
UPC: 024543027522
Genre: romantic comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C- C-B+B D

DVD Review

There seems to be a curse on the cast of Friends. None of them, save perhaps Courtney Cox in Scream, have had much in the way of mainstream success in films. Jennifer Aniston, in particular, has been involved in a string of romantic comedies that can best be described as inoffensive. She's a fine actress, with an innate likeability, but she just doesn't get the good material.

The Object of My Affection is a good example. A romantic comedy that tries to be a message movie, it concerns the exploits of Nina (Aniston), a woman who has never experienced true love until she finds herself falling for her gay roommate George (Rudd). Complicating matters is Nina's pregnancy—the father is Vince (Pankow), who is more in love with the idea of being a father than he is with his baby's mother.

All the usual trapping of the genre are here. There's the Meet Cute, as Nina and George shyly interact at a family party. There's the eccentric cast of supporting characters, including TV regulars Alan Alda and Allison Janney. And there's the usual string of crisis after crisis for the couple to overcome, before they can have the final Resolution leading to (since this is a romantic comedy with serious ambitions of social commentary) the Bittersweet Happy Ending that is Sure to Enrich the Lives of the Audience.

The problem is that the film follows these predictable plot outlines, and yet still tries to be Important and Meaningful. There's a few moments that work, as when Nina, defending her feelings for George to her sister, says, "Doesn't it all eventually turn into friendship anyway?" These scenes hint at a better movie lurking within the material, one that would focus on the real meaning of love and family, rather than on familiar "will-they-or-won't-they" conventions.

Also annoying is the heartfelt political correctness of the whole affair. Homosexuality is portrayed as such that all gays are monogamous theater lovers, much more faithful and true than their heterosexual counterparts. It has to be made clear that any character stating any sort of opposition to George is not doing so because he's gay. A less self-aware movie may have let the audience come to its own conclusions about the characters' motivations.

Every review of The Object of My Affection makes special note of the late Nigel Hawthorne. Here he plays an aging gay theater critic who lives (platonically) with a young gay actor. He's clearly in love with the boy, but has also come to terms with the fact that the relationship is a dead end. He achieves more emotional impact in his brief screen time than any of the scenes with Nina and George, especially during a rather sobering conversation with Nina where he laments his past choices. "Don't fix your life so that you're left alone just at the middle of it," he says, and his touching monologue makes you wish Nina would accept her fate with as much dignity.

Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: C-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: This is a very fine looking transfer. Aside from a slight overall softness, and some visible grain here and there, I have no real complaints. Colors look strong, with natural fleshtones. Black level is good, as is shadow detail. I noted no artifacting or edge enhancement. Aside from the aforementioned grain, the print shows no defects.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Frenchyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: This is your typical romantic comedy track. Dialogue is always clear and well balanced with the other elements of the track. Overall, things sound very nice, with good fidelity and support in the front mains for the score especially. Surrounds barely make their presence known, and there are few directional effects. LFE isn't present, but isn't needed either. A fine track for a dialogue comedy.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Brothers McMullen, Drive Me Crazy, Picture Perfect, Simply Irresistible
4 TV Spots/Teasers
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Extras are strictly on the promotional side. Included are a theatrical trailer and a four-minute promo featurette. There's also four TV spots and a Fox Flix gallery with trailers for Brothers McMullen, Drive Me Crazy, Picture Perfect, and Simply Irresistible.

Extras Grade: D


Final Comments

A rom-com with serious overtones that manages to be neither touching nor very funny, The Object of My Affection fails despite the efforts of a likeable cast. The DVD is of fine quality, though, and the $19.99 price tag makes it a no-brainer for fans of the film.


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