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A bit more than a routine NYC Rom Com
on 14 May 2010
Directed by and starring Edward Norton, this is an immensely likeable and funny rom-com but no 'masterpiece', as one of my fellow reviewers says. Amazon is a magnet for hyperbole.
It's too derivative and thus predictable to be a masterpiece. Clearly indebted - in effect, an hommage - to movies by Nora Ephron and Woody Allen, Keeping The Faith has longtime best friends Jake and Brian (Stiller and Norton), rabbi and Catholic priest, reunited suddenly with their third musketeer from eighth grade, business dynamo Anna (Elfman). The more they hangout together, inevitably, the more in love with her both men fall. She begins a physical relationship with Jake, unaware of the romantic attachment Brian is developing. Tears of joy, and of sadness. Happy ending? It is a rom-com after all.
All three impress, though Stiller is typically aggressive in his role as crowd pleasing rabbi and defensive--lover. Norton gets most of the slapstick, which is carried out with aplomb. Elfman, star of Dharma and Greg, is beautiful and ballsy as the tough business gal. Typical for our era, both men exonerate her from responsibility for nearly wrecking their friendship (is that a spoiler? Sorry). Anne Bancroft is entertainingly feisty as Jake's mum, Eli Wallach droll as Rabbi Lewis.
Music is usually apt but occasionally intrusive. The situation is rather contrived - rabbi AND priest, both conveniently given work in New York at the same time. Both more entertaining than actually enlightening as spiritual guides.
In my house we watch this two or three times a year. Maybe more. It's a good one, especially if you don't hate Ben Stiller.