Keeping The Faith

Keeping The Faith


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Edward Norton is known for his intense, edgy dramatic roles (Primal Fear, American History X, Fight Club). It comes as quite a surprise that his debut as director should be a romantic comedy on the lines of Jules Et Jim Et God.

Brian, Jake and Anna were inseperable as kids in New York, until Anna's dad took a job in California and off she went. Brian (Norton) grew up to become a Catholic priest. Jake (Ben Stiller) grew up to become a rabbi. Both stimulate their congregations with what Brian calls "a New Age spin" and fill the pews like no-one since Billy Graham.

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One day, Brian receives a call from Anna (Jenna Elfman) to say that she'll be in town for a while. She has become a high-powered businesswoman. They get together and start seeing each other like in the old days, except she's a workaholic ("I have a relationship with my phone") and so are the others in their own way.

Jake falls for Anna and then Anna falls for Jake and then Brian falls for Anna. Oops! That's it. A triangle of sorts, with God as party pooper and Jake's mom (the ever wondrous Anne Bancroft) ready to steal the picture, if only she had a bigger role.

On the one hand, this is the story of a woman coming between friends, except they are all friends. On the other, it is a hey-man-religion-can-be-cooler-than-sex feel good flick, except the sex isn't so terrible, either.

In the end, it comes down to personalities and the quality of the writing. Norton and Stiller are fine with their buddy banter and Stuart Blumberg's script has its moments. The chemistry between Stiller and Elfman is so much less convincing than the chemistry between Norton and Elfman, which is all wrong, because this is a movie about a rabbi who is scared of commitment, not a priest who falls from grace.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Love triangle between a workaholic businesswoman, a rabbi and a Catholic priest.
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Director: Edward Norton

Writer: Stuart Blumberg

Starring: Ben Stiller, Edward Norton, Jenna Elfman, Anne Bancroft, Milos Forman, Eli Wallach, Ron Rifkin

Year: 2000

Runtime: 129 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: US


EIFF 2000

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If you like this, try:

Jules Et Jim