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13 September 2000 Edition

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Cinema: Keeping the Faith

Directed by Edward Norton

Ecumenical love triangle

Ed Norton stars in and directs this above average romantic comedy. Jenna Elfman (Dharma and Greg) and Ben Stiller are the other main protagonists.

This is basically a buddy-buddy-movie-with-love-interest-thrown-in-to-stir-the-pot-creating-discord-and-unhappiness-before-everything-is-happily-resolved type of flick.

The originality lies in some clever scriptwriting and the fact that Norton plays Catholic priest Brian Finn to Stiller's rabbi, Jake Schram. All three were childhood friends but the religious duo have lost touch with Elfman, Anna Reilly, now a West coast corporate high flier.

Both religious are charismatic and popular in their respective New York parishes, attracting full houses with their youthful and offbeat styles of preaching. Their close friendship is put under pressure, however, when Elfman flies in on business. She soon falls for the rabbi, but the priest is also tempted. Cue the discord bit before the happy ending.

This is all achieved with less Hollywood schmaltz than usual and there are some hilarious moments. The downside is that Elfman seems to have only one character in her repertoire and is out of her depth here, but it doesn't detract too much. Stiller is good, but he gets more onscreen time than Norton, who is the class act in this movie, easily stealing the show.

All in all, this is an enjoyable 129 minutes that will entertain if not overly tax the brain.


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