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Keeping The Faith (2000)
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Review Date: April 02, 2000
Director: Edward Norton
Writer: Stuart Blumberg
Producers: E. Norton, S. Blumberg, H. Koch
Actors:
Ed Norton as Father Brian Finn
Ben Stiller as Rabbi Jacob Schram
Jenna Elfman as Anna Reilly
Plot:
Best friends turned respective rabbi and priest suddenly find themselves in a very strange love triangle when their best friend from childhood, a girl, comes back to visit them after 15 years.
Critique:
A cute adult comedic look at inter-faith relationships. "Quaint" would also be a great way to describe this predictable but genuinely entertaining movie. Mix in some laughs, some tears, plenty of discussions about inter-faith relationships, which could actually be interpreted as any inter-something relationship (inter-racial, inter-sex, inter-class, etc...), and the recipe for a harmless, enjoyable romantic comedy is attained. Of course, looking back now it makes sense as to why Norton decided to take on this smaller, less daring project as his first behind the camera. Who among us would attempt a leap in the pool without dipping the ol' big toe in first? Norton proved himself right with this choice of film, demonstrating his obvious talents as a director, with a great eye for style, a sincere ear for sound, with a soothing, cool soundtrack and a great feel for solid material.

Of course, this film won't break any records for major twists and turns, with the plot basically drumming to a steady old beat, but with the combined talents of Norton, Stiller and Elfman in front of the camera, I could not help but be involved in their little story. Norton does, as usual, pull off another impressive performance as the good priest with a burgeoning dilemma on his hands. Stiller is cast perfectly as the hip, rebellious rabbi with a funny bone to boot. And Elfman, aaaaah Elfman, an actress who personally never impressed me with her goofy persona on TV, but has more than outdone herself in two leading comedic roles, with EdTV (7/10) being the first. Can we finally pass the Meg Ryan/Andy McDowell ring of romantic comedy leads over to another cute-as-a-button woman who also seems to have conquered the gift of the instant wet-eye? C'mon now...let's all join hands and agree. All in all, this film certainly doesn't crack any new ground in respect to most other successful romantic comedies, but it definitely does pack some funny lines, a beautiful look and feel, an appropriately romantic soundtrack, great actors and some obvious but necessary points about inter-relationships.
(c) 2015 Berge Garabedian
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