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Awesome: 21.05%
Worth A Look55.26%
Just Average: 10.53%
Pretty Crappy: 7.89%
Sucks: 5.26%

4 reviews, 52 user ratings

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Keeping the Faith
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by Chef ADogg

"Decent, if romantic comedies are your thing."
4 stars

I'll admit right now that I like a good romantic comedy. The genre is way up there on my list of guilty pleasures--a few notches above blaxploitation, just one below movies starring Tupac Shakur. Having gotten that somewhat embarrassing tidbit out of the way, let me say that I really, truly enjoyed "Keeping the Faith."

I also must say that Ben Stiller is one of my favorite actors, and most of the satisfaction I received from the film can probably be attributed to my boundless affection for him. The man is great in just about everything, and he hasn't been this good in a long time--probably since "There's Something About Mary," another fluffy romantic comedy, also laced with slapstick.

Unfortunately for all us die-hard Stillerheads, this is officially Ed Norton's movie. It's his first stab behind the camera, and, as a director, he comes up a bit short. I've never been his biggest fan, by any means, but I respect him and recognize the craft and effort that he brings to all his projects. I have to say, I expected a bit more from his directorial debut than a serviceable, heavily cliched romantic comedy--I was looking for style, for verve, for emotional explosiveness.

"Keeping the Faith" contains none of those elements. Like Norton himself, it's a bit on the bland side--watchable, but not, you know, the bomb diggy. It's just a fun, old-fashioned little slice of cinema that revolves around two best friends that fall for the same lady. That's it. Expect that walking in, and you won't be disappointed.

Look for "American History X," however, and you may experience some faint let-down.

In addition to slacking behind the camera, Norton also slides down a few notches as an actor here. He gives what is probably his most undistinguished turn as the young, idealistic, very dorky priest who serves as our storyteller. The film takes place mostly in flashback, as he unloads his tale on the comic relief shot-slinger at the local Irish dive.

In said story, two young boys, of differing faiths, grow up together in New York and then become successful religious leaders. Brian (Norton) is a popular Catholic priest, while Jake (Stiller) performs riff-heavy sermons as the local rabbi. Both of their belief structures are thrown out of balance when Anna (Jenna Eflman), a foxy childhood chum from the eighth grade, re-enters their lives. Brian falls helplessly in love with her while she engages in a relationship with Jake; we watch them sort out the complicated details of their triangular relationship as the film unfolds.

Norton does a decent job telling the story, direction-wise; there's not much flash, but the genre's stylistic requirements are not so heavy. He does himself a disservice, though, by starring in the film alongside Stiller. Not only is Ed essentially superfluous to the core premise of the film (the relationship between Anna and Jake), he's simply not as funny as Ben. I ended up wishing his scenes had just been excised from the final product, which is never a good sign.

For all my gripes, though, the movie does work in the end, mostly thanks to Stiller and Elfman. They're two of the smartest comedians working today, and the chemistry between them is surprisingly good. And, though I think the film would have been more interesting had it focused primarily on Anna and Jake's romance, Norton's presence sets up a few funny, thought-provoking scenes. There are some very interesting discussions in here about faith and relationships and whatnot--"Keeping the Faith" is successful mostly because the intellectual aspects of romance are not given short shrift, ala tepid modern romances like "You've Got Mail" and "Runaway Bride."

Whether or not you enjoy "Keeping the Faith" is all about your sensibilities--if you're into edge and depth, you might want to stay away. You certainly aren't missing anything revolutionary. But for all the goofy romantics out there, like myself, there's some good fun to be had with this one. I highly recommend it.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=1782&reviewer=123
originally posted: 04/15/00 19:49:54
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User Comments

7/22/18 morris campbell not bad 3 stars
2/09/10 art A PHONY-BALONEY DOG AND PONY SHOW! 1 stars
7/21/09 art ONE FOR THE BOOK"S! 1 stars
7/08/03 natasha_theobald funny, sweet, thoughtful -- a love story with something more to explore 4 stars
4/17/03 elizaveta Ed Norton is a joy to watch, as always...Stiller, however, is not. Funny at many times. 4 stars
3/02/03 Jack Sommersby Self-indulgent crap from the ego-driven Norton. Pretty damn lifeless. 1 stars
2/18/03 His Irishness This movie SUCKS!!!! 1 stars
8/17/02 Todd Hamilton Loved it, bought it, still watching it 5 stars
6/07/02 Phil M. Aficionado Stilted monologue at the start leads to a pleasant, clever, smart little film. Fun. 4 stars
3/13/02 Renee Keener Lame as B Stiller goes. Weak in keeping interest or vibrant message ; Faith watered down. 3 stars
1/26/02 Andrew Carden Some Parts Were Funny, but I Didn't Think It'd Ever End 3 stars
1/21/02 Michael This movie is hilarious! 5 stars
9/10/01 Nice Guy Eddie Pretty lousy romantic comedy, a disappointment from the usually brilliant Stiller. 2 stars
9/02/01 Butterbean Cute comedy, but very forgettable 3 stars
7/01/01 Richard Wright Not funny, Not romantic, with Jenna Elfman the most irritating actress this century. 2 stars
6/04/01 Psyko Doug Solid feel good movie. 5 stars
5/17/01 zeitgeist it was surprisingly pretty decent, but norton has had much better films 4 stars
5/15/01 radium nice, easy, intelligent. Don (karaoke) was unforgettable 4 stars
5/15/01 Bada Bing Crosby Ugh, a thin story stretched over two hours. THIS close to 2 stars
3/27/01 Monster W. Kung Funny, light-hearted comedy... too bad the end wasn't that good. 3 stars
3/26/01 nowak Intelligent, pleasant but naive and not v. funny. 4 stars
1/15/01 lulany Wonderful! Great chemistry between actors, funny, touching. Also great song (Heart of Mine) 5 stars
1/05/01 Pete Lightweight but enjoyable & sweet romantic comedy with great chemistry btwn the lead actors 4 stars
12/19/00 Tim Sorry Ben and Edward you may have had other good movies but this was not one of them 2 stars
11/18/00 Angus moorehead Elfman was great at the beginning.....but lost her spunk towards the end. 3 stars
11/09/00 Antoine Boyd The movie made you laugh, cry and shows ture love 5 stars
10/30/00 Monday Morning JENNA HOT is ELFMAN! Above avg. but dragged a bit in Act 2. 4 stars
10/29/00 cgrayson A movie centered on "a rabbi and a priest", which doesn't descend into trivial dumb jokes 4 stars
6/14/00 FREDDIE JENNA ELFMAN is HOT 5 stars
6/11/00 Belinda Poop! Very average movie - I kept looking at my watch. 2 stars
6/09/00 MR joel harwood ( JENNA ELFMAN IS HOT) It went for over 2 hours which is good i am sick of short movies o yeah it was really good 5 stars
5/26/00 Jaime N. Christley Awkward but intelligent and enjoyable comedy; Jenna Elfman is luminous. 3 stars
5/26/00 Chartsy I couldn't stop looking at Jenna Elfman, and I'm a girl. 4 stars
5/21/00 Greyjack Much better than I expected. A very pleasant film. 4 stars
5/20/00 mellemel Wasn't expecting to enjoy it, but ended up laughing quite a bit. 4 stars
5/14/00 Louis JENNA ELFMAN IS HOT!!! The movie's pretty good too. 5 stars
5/12/00 Kyle Broflovski Romantic without being blatantly mushy-gushy or dumbed the fuck down. 4 stars
5/03/00 Blackbird Froget Norton's problems, I want know about the Bartender's life. 4 stars
4/29/00 Katsat Throughly enjoyable. 1 superb reaction scene w/Norton oscar-worthy acting. 5 stars
4/27/00 PhilmPhreak When did Jenna Elfman get so HOT?? 4 stars
4/25/00 bullit17 Three great lead performances. Proves you don't need to blast religion to make it funny 4 stars
4/24/00 Captain Highcrime Girls, will your boyfriend go to such cornball lengths to make up with you in real life? 3 stars
4/19/00 Malbert Could have been really cute if some dumb(&long)scenes had been cut,Stiller&Norton were cute 4 stars
4/18/00 Girl9 Corny and Annoying...I couldn't stand it, but my boyfriend enjoyed it. 2 stars
4/18/00 seldom scene silly, sexy, witty, and unique. Well done!! 5 stars
4/17/00 schmegs I'm in love with Jenna Elfman... 5 stars
4/16/00 Shameless Romantic Pure magic; exemplary acting, divinely joyous atmosphere, very sharp & mature script 5 stars
4/16/00 AC Hey, Norton wasn't that bad... 5 stars
4/15/00 "Persnickety" this is an all out great movie, very cute 5 stars
4/15/00 The Rock Had a good feeling throughout. Well Acted and Directed. 4 stars
4/14/00 Des GREAT^%$#*$ 5 stars
4/11/00 John Doe good flic 5 stars
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  14-Apr-2000 (PG-13)


  08-Jun-2000 (M)

Directed by
  Edward Norton

Written by
  Stuart Blumberg

  Edward Norton
  Ben Stiller
  Jenna Elfman
  Anne Bancroft
  Eli Wallach
  Ron Rifkin

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