Affection [2002]

In this ultra-hip, multilayered comedy, triangles and emotional imbroglios take on a new meaning. Well, at least they try. Jennifer Aniston plays a straight woman who falls in love with a gay man (Paul Rudd). She invites him to move in with her just hours after they meet. As their friendship progresses, she learns she is pregnant, and wants Rudd to act as daddy to her newborn, much to the consternation of her overbearing boyfriend (John Pankow). The film takes itself too seriously, although there is some genuine emotion buried in Wendy Wasserstein's clunky script. It is not that the relationships are unbelievable; it is that the story lurches forward from one stilted setup to another. And unfortunately, characters are motivated by unknown forces to take on major life changes without explanation. More fortunate are two very likable performances by Rudd, who wisely plays this without cute, homosexual tics, and a most perky and appealing Aniston. Supporting actor Nigel Hawthorne walks away with the film as a gay drama critic who imparts a few important life lessons as he learns one of his own. --Rochelle O'Gorman

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