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Keeping the Faith

Rated [PG-13], 129 minutes
Starring Ben Stiller, Edward Norton, Jenna Elfman
Screenplay by Stuart Blumberg
Directed by Edward Norton

IN SHORT: Clever. Witty. Long.

Didja ever look at a cake and know that you should only eat a slice but, maybe the munchies were setting in and, you ate the whole thing? That kind of describes Edward Norton's debut directing style in Keeping the Faith, a stylishly written and at times extremely funny story of a priest a rabbi and the girl they've both loved since the sixth grade. What starts at a boil (consider the idea of your local religious leader doing standup at Services) soon falls to a low simmer, only occasionally coming back to the full boil.

And only the priest walks into a bar, so you'll get none of those jokes from me.

Brian Kilkenny Flynn (Edward Norton) is the Priest. Jacob Schram (Ben Stiller) is the Rabbi. Anna Reilly (Jenna Elfman) is the grownup corporate exec now returning to New York after a twenty something year absence. The visit is temporary, Anna's gonna save another corporation, but it affords her the opportunity to catch up with old friends.

Both men go to pick up their friend at the airport and when she walks through the gates, both draws drop and testosterone levels flare. Of course, one man is wearing a Roman collar and the other man is of the wrong Faith, so whatcha gonna do other than be friends?

They're gonna do everything your dirty li'l minds are contemplating, even as we speak. And they're gonna do it with style and sass and it's all nicely written and a joy to watch . . . and watch some more . . . and on and on and on, past the two hour mark (which is at least half an hour too long for a romantic comedy). While it's a welcome change to see Edward Norton do something light, when Elfman isn't on the screen, mostly in the third act, the movie fades. Which is a roundabout way of saying that Jenna Elfman delivers a terrific, big-name star level performance (and this from a guy who doesn't like her teevee sitcom Dharma and Greg at all). When she's on screen, any instinct to look at your watch vanishes. She's funny, she's hot, she's kicking out the star jams right and left.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Keeping the Faith, he would have paid...


Definite date flick. Our Paul Fischer also took a look at Keeping the Faith. His review here and click for CrankyCritic® StarTalk with Edward Norton, Jenna Elfman and Ben Stiller

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The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.