The movie was filmed in 1997 in various locations around New York City, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
Social worker Nina Borowski (Jennifer Aniston) is a bright young woman living in a cozy Brooklyn apartment. Nina attends a party given by her stepsister Constance (Allison Janney) and her husband, Sidney (Alan Alda). There Nina meets George Hanson (Paul Rudd), a young, handsome, and gay first grade teacher. Nina tells George that her stepsister is constantly trying to fix her up with somebody from higher society, completely ignoring the fact that Nina has a boyfriend, Vince (John Pankow). During the conversation, Nina offers George a room in her apartment as she has just heard from his boyfriend, Dr. Robert Joley (Tim Daly), that George is looking for somewhere to live. George, not knowing about Robert's plans, is taken aback and heartbroken, and after the party the two split up. George accepts Nina's offer and moves into her apartment.
The two soon become best friends; they watch films together and go ballroom dancing. Everything is great until Nina announces that she is pregnant. Vince, the baby's father, wants to marry her, but his constant care drives Nina crazy; she leaves him and asks George to help raise her child. For some time, they live together in her apartment in Brooklyn. Everything is perfect again until Nina finds that her love for George is growing every day, especially after he tells her he had a girlfriend in high school, leading her to believe they might have a sexual relationship.
One afternoon, George and Nina are about to have sex when George gets a phone call from Robert who tells him how much he has missed him and invites him away for the weekend. George is confused but agrees to go. Nina feels threatened and gets jealous. George and Robert do not re-establish their relationship, but George meets Paul James (Amo Gulinello), a young actor, and the two fall in love and have sex. Meanwhile, Nina is staying with Constance at a vacation mansion and is extremely moody. She has a horrible time and decides to head back home and asks George to return as well. She is mugged on the way and a friendly police officer, Louis (Kevin Carroll), gives her a ride home. Nina and George decide to invite Paul and his elderly acting mentor, Rodney, for Thanksgiving. Paul stays the night and has sex with George, resulting in a fallout between George and Nina.
The following day, they start arguing again at George's brother's wedding. Nina fully explains to George her feelings for him. George, who loves Nina as his best friend, tells her that he wants to be with Paul. A few hours later, Nina gives birth to a beautiful girl she names Molly. Vince, ecstatic, visits her in the hospital, but when he leaves to complete paperwork, Nina and George remain alone with Molly. Nina asks George when he plans to move out to which he replies that he doesn't know. She asks him to move out of her apartment before she gets home from hospital, stating that it would hurt her too much to have him stay any longer knowing that he doesn't love her.
The end of the film takes place at George's school eight years later, in which all of the characters go to see Molly in a musical production that George has directed. Nina is now in a relationship with Louis, and George is with Paul, both of them now happy. The film ends as Nina, George, and young Molly (Sarah Hyland) (who refers to George as her "Uncle George") walk together down the sidewalk, hand-in-hand, on their way to get coffee.
The shooting took place from June to July 1997, in New York.
The Object of My Affection was released in US theaters on April 17, 1998, and took in $9,725,855 during its opening weekend, coming in at No. 2 at the box office in 1,890 theaters, averaging $5,146 per theater. The film went on to gross $29,187,243 in the United States alone, over a span of five weekends. The film continued to open in European countries throughout the fall and winter of 1998, and ultimately grossed $17,718,646 outside of the United States.
Critical reaction to the film was mixed. Roger Ebert gave the film two stars, saying "The Object of My Affection deals with some real issues and has scenes that work, but you can see the wheels of the plot turning so clearly that you doubt the characters have much freedom to act on their own." Ruthe Stein of the San Francisco Chronicle said the film "occasionally borders on being too clever. But that's a small quibble about a movie that gets so much right."
The film currently holds a rating of 49% on the film critic site Rotten Tomatoes.com. Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score from 1 to 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, gave the film a 51 based on 18 critics.