All reviews all the time! Home   Movies   Music   Video Games
4 DVDs 49 cents each!  |  Rent Dvds- Free Trial  |  Buy Movie Posters  

 Search Amazon
  Browse Movies 

 Browse by Genre 

 Other Movie/Video Review
Keeping the Faith

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Keeping the Faith

Starring: Edward Norton, Ben Stiller
Director: Edward Norton
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 129 Minutes
Release Date: April 2000
Genres: Comedy, Romance

*Also starring: Jenna] Elfman, Eli Wallach, Anne Bancroft, Holland Taylor, Milos Forman, Ron Rifkin, Catherine Lloyd Burns, Rena Sofer

Review by John Beachem
2½ stars out of 4

Did you ever hear the one about the Priest and the Rabbi? You did, huh? Well I promise you never heard it quite like this before. Okay I'm lying. That may be what I want to say, but Edward Norton's "Keeping the Faith" is a good natured, and at times very amusing little comedy which suffers from a lack of originality. In fact, the biggest thing this movie has going for it are the performances from the two lead actors. Don't get me wrong, "Keeping The Faith" contains a few hilarious scenes, but a lot of the comedy feels like its been done a thousand times over. For example, how many times have you seen a person in a movie ask to be punched to show how tough they are, only to collapse when actually hit; or seen a rabbi pass out the first time he sees a circumcision? Strangely, the lack of originality doesn't ruin the movie. Because the film is so pleasant natured the rehash of past comic bits makes it feel comfortable and familiar.

Father Brian Finn (Edward Norton) and Rabbi Jacob Schram (Ben Stiller) have been friends since childhood, and they've both always known exactly what they wanted to do with their lives. As children their best friend was Anna Reilly (Jenna Elfman), who acted just like one of the boys. Now, twelve years since they last saw Anna, she shows up as a career driven business woman. Jacob, whose congregation has been trying to set him up with someone for months, finds himself falling for Anna and she for him. The two decide to get together, but without telling Brian for fear of alienating him. As Anna falls further and further in love with Jacob, Jacob begins alienating himself from Anna. He is afraid that his mother (Anne Bancroft) will disown him, as she did his brother, for falling for a non-Jew.

I must admit, I was impressed by Edward Norton's abilities as a director, this being his first time behind the camera. Not only is the man an incredible actor, but he is now showing talent in other areas as well? Does this strike anyone else as being a little unfair? Okay, I'm done being Jealous. "Keeping the Faith" is a rare sort of movie these days. It's a wholesome yet still highly amusing romantic comedy. When was the last time you saw a movie made for people over the age of 10 which didn't contain some act of extreme violence or blatant, explicit sexuality? Okay, my sermon is now done with as well. I'm sorry about getting so preachy, but I just saw a movie about a priest and a rabbi, what do you expect? Speaking of getting preachy, I will say that "Keeping the Faith" has a tendency to do just that from time to time; but not nearly as much as it could have considering the film's topic.

Edward Norton may be a very gifted actor, but he obviously has no problem taking a back seat to other actors. In fact, one of the problems I had with this movie was that Norton's character is never given the amount of screen time he deserved. Brian Finn could have been a very interesting character but is never developed to that point. Ben Stiller's character, Rabbi Jacob, on the other hand, is given ample screen time. Ben Stiller, previously seen in the funny but overrated "There's Something About Mary", and the sadly underrated "Mystery Men", is an actor who is capable of switching from over-the-top physical comedy to serious acting in a split second. In this movie he finally given the chance to shine as he has so deserved. The last bit of casting, Jenna Elfman (Dharma and Greg), was a very poor decision in my opinion. I have never found Jenna Elfman to be a particularly gifted actress, and in this case she is asked to carry half the film with her limited talents (she's also a good two or three inches taller than Stiller, but that's beside the point).

Besides the somewhat dubious casting of Miss Elfman in a leading role here, there is one more thing which makes "Keeping the Faith" a good film rather than a great one. I've always said an important part of a movie is the soundtrack, and that couldn't be more true in this case. Not only is there very little music, but when the music is present, it is nearly always inappropriate for the scene. Watch for Milos Forman (Director of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest") in a supporting role as Norton's mentor. Anne Bancroft ("The Graduate") is perfectly cast as Stiller's mother, but Ron Rifkin ("Boiler Room") is unfortunately underused as an elder member of Stiller's congregation. "Keeping the Faith" runs a little too long at 125 minutes. I recommend it to fans of Ben Stiller and romantic comedies in general and give the film three and a half out of five stars. Comments? Feel free to e-mail them to: For past reviews, movie news, and other fun stuff, visit:

* * * * * - One of the greatest movies ever made, see it now. * * * * - Great flick, try and catch this one. * * * - Okay movie, hits and misses. * * - Pretty bad, see it only if you have nothing better to do. * - One of the worst movies ever made. See it only if you enjoy pain.

Copyright 2000 John Beachem

More reviews:    Main  2   3   4  
Lord of the Rings
buy dvd

buy video

read the reviews

In Affiliation with
Buy movie posters!

Home | Movies | Music | Video Games | Songs | | | Columbia House | Netflix

Copyright 1998-2002
Privacy Policy |  Advertising Info |  Contact Us