Another movie for my "Sorta Touching Romantic Comedies" list: a movie that tries to take on that oh-so-mysterious thing called love, attempts at humor, and falls short of completely moving me. But not every movie is "Romeo & Juliet" style epic romance, and for a quiet evening, this movie suits me just as well. As often as I like to say that I dislike conventional happy endings - well, let's just say sometimes life requires happy endings. What do we go to the movies for, if not for comfort and solace? Sometimes we need these things, and these are the times we go see movies like "Object of My Affection" instead of a depressing indie flick that may surpass OoMA artistically ten times more. What I'm actually trying to do here is justify my affection for this movie so that you might not dismiss it as another "If Lucy Fell" or another chic flick.
Okay, so it's a chic flick.
You might not define it as a run-of-the-mill because in the end, romance isn't the centerpiece of the story; rather, friendship is. The endurance of life. Clinging on to the things we hold dear and not letting life beat us down. In its own way, by throwing together all sorts of unconventional relationships and attitudes, the movie is a celebration of the good things of life itself. While lacking witticisms or memorable dialogue, the script is full of lines we might hear in real life itself, which makes it all the more endearing. The people contains shades of every Tom, Jane, and Mary we might know. Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd aren't exactly Oscar calibur (but who's to say what is Oscar calibur these days?), but they fit in their roles well - Rudd, moreover, has a wooing charisma on-screen. Many actors steal the show - Nina's (Aniston) eccentric landlady and George's (Rudd) lover Paul, George's philanderer brother (Steve Zahn), and the adorable grade school children, who lend much vitality to the movie.
Sometimes slowed down by drab dialogue and unnecessary scenes, the movie mostly moves along at a tolerable pace and satisfies my taste for the unconventional. It's not too often that in these movies, the Guy and the Girl don't get together at the end - this movie is even more different then "My Best Friend's Wedding" had dared to be. In that aspect, this movie is refreshingly unique. Another success of the movie is that it has no clear-cut villains, as in "The Wedding Singer"; by making everyone just likable enough and establishing just enough character definition, we're left with a puzzle just as challenging as life itself, and changing conditions just as unpredictable as -- well, you know what I mean. I don't know about the other movie-goers, but it kept me constantly questioning my own life and my own relationships.
"Object of My Affection" is by no means a masterpiece, but as soul food, it's pretty nutritious.
Rating: B (First viewing, 4/25/98)