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The Object Of My Affection Review

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Nina, seems to have the perfect job, wardrobe, partner and affluent social circle in tow. Enter George, a cute gay schoolteacher who takes the spare room in her apartment after splitting with his older boyfriend and the pair are soon very close. The relationship takes a new turn, however, when she falls pregnant and decides she wants to be more than just George's buddy...

★★★★★

The latest and, indeed, most mainstream effort to date from Brit director Hytner (previously known for such weightier fare as The Madness Of King George and The Crucible) is as clever a piece of World Cup counter-programming as is likely to cross a cinema screen during the tournament. Provided, that is, one labours under the inaccurate assumption that not a female in the land will be remotely interested in watching football. Far closer to the truth is that this warm'n'fuzzy romance - a sort of more commercial reversal of last year's indie gem Chasing Amy - will hardly rack up many popcorn sales among male cinemagoers, except, perhaps, those dragged along under duress. Aniston is Nina, the kind of love-to-hate celluloid twentysomething with perfect job, wardrobe, partner (John Pankow) and affluent social circle in tow. Enter George (Rudd), a cute gay schoolteacher who takes the spare room in her apartment after splitting with his older boyfriend (Tim Daly) and the pair soon forge a boyfriend-girlfriend style relationship despite the lack of physical attraction and Nina's ever-present, irritating partner lurking in the background. The relationship takes a new turn, however, when she falls pregnant and decides she wants to be more than just George's buddy...

This unrequited love yarn may sound like a load of sentimental old claptrap, but Hytner carries it along rather nicely, relying on strong characterisation, subtle humour and winning performances to beef up the admittedly bland material - and thankfully never resorting to the showtune-strumming loudly-frocked, gay stereotypes of yore.

Aniston, looking more like someone with a pillow stuffed up her top than a woman basking in gestation, turns in a curiously restrained performance, while the delightful Rudd is a leading man in the making. But it's the gallery of supporting players - Alda as a flashy book editor, Nigel Hawthorne as a lonely luvvy - who get the lion's share of the one-liners and steer the film away from saccharine territory. Unashamedly a chick-flick, but no less enjoyable for it.

Strong characterisation, subtle humour and winning performances in this touching, if predictable, story.

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