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April 20, 1998 - Image 15

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-04-20

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The Michigan Daily - Monday, April 20, 1998 - 15

lets down
By Prashant Tamaskar
Daily Arts Nriter
Capitalizing on what is becoming
a popular motion picture trend, "The
{.oject of My Affection" is
Hollywood's glossy answer to
"Chasing Amy," last year's highly
praised indie phenomenon about a
romance doomed by issues of sexual
Although "Object" doesn't mea-
sure up to its predecessor, the film,
surprisingly enough, has a sincere
emotional center. But a muddled
screenplay and undisciplined direc-
tion prevent the movie from really
taking advantage of this strength.
Jennifer Aniston stars as Nina
Borowski, a Brooklyn social worker
tuck in a passionless, utilitarian
lationship with a grating lawyer

Incomplete solutions place
'Health' below average

Courtesy o fwentieth Century Fox
Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston get a little too affectionate in "The Object of My

The Object
of My
At 8riarwood and
who is about to

(John Pankow).
At a party
thrown by her
step - sister
C onstance
(Allison Janney)
and her famous
literary agent
husband Sidney
(Alan Alda), she
meets George
(Paul Rudd), a
gay elementary
school teacher
be dumped by his

Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet"),
"The Object of My Affection"
exhibits an unexpected sincerity on
an emotional level. Although it is
difficult to believe that Nina, with
her charming personality and her
beauty, would be so desperate that
she would have to settle for Vince,
the despair of her character is pre-
sented effectively.
As the antithesis of her superficial
step-sister, all Nina wants is to find
a special person, and then later in
the film, to have that person help her
raise her child.
Aniston, through expressive body
and facial languae, subtly reveals
the pain that Nina feels when her
desires cannot so easily be fulfilled.
Moreover, Rudd, although a bit
inconsistent, skillfully documents
the inner turmoil that his character
feels. He loves Nina very much, but
her request is too much for him to
take. She is asking him to compro-
mise his lifestyle and his happiness,
as they essentially become a couple.
She also becomes dependent on him,
which he is not ready for.
Thus, the stage is set nicely for a
gut-wrenching second half of the
film. But this momentum fails to
surmount to anything as director
Nicholas lytner is unable to get a
complete grasp of the material.
While it is acceptable for the char-
acters to be unsure of what they

want to do, Hytner cannot figure out
what he wants either. Does he want
to make the film about the pain of
unrequited love, of dissolving
friendship, or of child rearing
issues:? He settles for a combination
of the three, which ends up being a
lot more than the film can handle.
The screenplay then takes the
movie in various directions, swerv-
ing back and forth from dilemma to
dilemma. As this happens, the view-
er loses track of what issues the
characters are exactly struggling
with, and the film heads into the
aggravating world of self-impor-
This is augmented by a finale that
is disappointing in its violation of
the tone of the rest of the film. Sadly
enough, had more attention been
paid to the screenplay, many of these
problems could have been avoided.
"The Object of My Affection" is
an interesting, but highly flawed
work, that could have been a much
better movie. The emotion is real,
the central characters are well devel-
oped, and the lead actors are excel-
Still, given that the idea for this
movie cannot be considered innova-
tive, particularly in light of
"Chasing Amy," which set the prece-
dent for the genre, these strengths
are not enough to overcome the
film's many weaknesses.

Health Against Wealth
George Anders
In "Health Against Wealth," George Anders, senior special
writer for the Wall Street Journal and part of a team that won
the Pulitzer Prize in 1996, closely examines the managed-
health industry.
Through a sweeping examination, he explores many oppos-
ing facets of the health care field. The overwhelming focus of
the work is on the weaknesses of the system, but at times this
focus tends to ignore important facts and questions.
A large portion of the work examines areas that have little
to do with the quality of patient care that managed health care
presently provides. The work first provides historical back-
ground of the health care industry in order to add perspective
to the book. Here, Anders paints a vivid
picture of greed and corruption that
sent annual health-care costs rising at
astounding double digit rates during
the 1980s.
Anders cites an example of when
Chrysler provided employees a generous4
allowance for psychiatric care and health.
costs jumped 500 percent.
He then continues with a brief look at the
first appearance of managed care organizations.
and different problems associated with their emer-
When the work finally begins examining the quality aspect
of it, he solely takes a negative view of managed care.
One of the principles of managed care is to turn primary
care physicians into gatekeepers.
They are meant to decide who should have access to
specialists and more expensive procedures. Anders cen-
ters upon the negative aspects of this role, rather than
exploring both its positive and negative impacts equally.
The work continues to examine different areas of
patient care. It centers on heart problems, breast cancer,
mental health, emergency care, mental health, geriatrics
and the poor. Although this is a broad sampling of the
health care industry, the analysis is still myopic.
In each of these cases, Anders again centers solely
upon the negative aspects, leaving many questions unan-
swered. He never addresses how managed care compares
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overall with the traditional system.
He also doesn't address the frequency with which the prob-
lems he mentions occur. Most importantly, he never states
whether the HMOs he examines are representative of the
industry on the whole. Without comparison, the reader has no
way to tell whether his criticisms are justified or only nit-pick-
The remainder of the work examines the industry as a
whole. In one fascinating analysis, Anders explains the politi-
cal lobbying tactics of managed care.
Though highly critical of its methods, Anders doesn't dif-
ferentiate managed care from any other special interest group.
In fact, this lack of perspective is representative of the main
problem with "Health Against Wealth." Anders doesn't com-
pare managed care with anything, and without the compari-
son, there is no way to tell whether they are unscrupulous or
The work continues with some criticisms of the gate-
way system as well as the overall quality of managed
care. In both areas, the analysis falls to problems
similar to those found earlier in the work.
What is impressive about "Health Against
Wealth" is that it not only points to problems
within the system but also provides some
solutions, many of which are sound.
Anders mentions many different ways
by which doctors, regulators and con-
sumers can improve the quality of their
health care as individual groups. These
solutions require some work, but seem
within the grasp of the laziest member of a managed care
Other solutions sound a bit too simplistic. Many require
managed care directors, doctors and regulators to form policy
decisions together. As the work points out, however, no two of
the groups are able to get along and compromise very often.
In fact, such ideas sound more like wishful thinking than
sound advice.
"Health Against Wealth" illuminates many different facets
of managed care. An otherwise excellent investigation is
ruined, however, by the author's preconceived ideas. The
examples and analysis Anders offers are often incom-
plete. He appears to be out to prove that managed care is
a problem and, in that position, ignores data that might
prove otherwise.
- Mahesh Joshi

live-in lover. Nina, the kind soul that
she is, offers George the spare room
in her apartment, which he accepts.
The two forge a close friendship,
hich is a bit unsettling to Nina's
boyfriend, Vince. Of even greater
significance is Nina's announcement
to George that she is pregnant.
She decides that she wants to
raise the child with George, her best
friend and the obvious love of her
life, and not with Vince. Needless to
say, this decision complicates mat-
ters for everyone involved with
*Powered by the excellent perfor-
mances of Aniston and Rudd
("Clueless" and "William

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