Keeping the Faith

The Boston Phoenix

DIRECTED BY: Edward Norton

REVIEWED: 04-17-00

No one who sat through Ed Norton's last film, Fight Club, would have believed that his next movie -- which he stars in as well as directs -- was going to be a romantic comedy about a priest and a rabbi (stop me if you've heard this one) who fall in love with the same girl. But it's true. And it's funny as hell.

Best friends since childhood, Father Brian Finn (Norton) and Rabbi Jacob Schram (Ben Stiller) try to modernize their sermons with stand-up-comedy routines, game-show-host enthusiasm, and a gospel choir singing in Hebrew. Their communities adore them, calling them "The God Squad"; but despite numerous dates set up by well-wishing Jewish mothers, Schram can't find the right woman, and as a Catholic priest, Finn can't have a woman, even if he could find the right one. Until, that is, their old friend Anna Reilly (a surprisingly versatile Jenna Elfman) comes to visit. When both men fall for her, the love triangle strains under questions of loyalty to friendship and God.

Norton has fun with organized religion without making fun of it. He proves he's more than a droopy-eyed psycho, and Stiller is at his best. These two play off each other so naturally, they even make the old basketball-to-the-nuts joke funny.

--Jumana Farouky

Full Length Reviews
Keeping the Faith

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