Thursday, April 6, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 127

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Keeping the Faith brilliant in its storyline, comedic offerings

Keeping the Faith

Touchstone Pictures
Ben Stiller, Edward Norton, and Jenna Elfman
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Grade: A

By Erica Shillings
Daily Cougar Staff

When growing up you value your friendships more than anything, but as you get older things can't always stay the same.

Keeping the Faith is a film about three inseparable friends: Brian (Edward Norton), Anna (Jenna Elfman) and Jake (Ben Stiller). They were always together and never thought that anything would come between them -- until Anna's family had to move to California because of her father's job.

When successful corporate executive Anna Reilly (Jenna Elfman, center) returns to work in New York, she is reunited with her best friends from childhood, Jake Schram (Ben Stiller, left) and Brian Kilkenny Finn (Edward Norton) in Keeping the Faith.

Sante D'Orazio/Buena Vista Pictures

So now it's Jake and Brian, minus one. In the streets of New York's Upper West Side they call themselves the God Squad. Jake is a rabbi and Brian happens to be a Roman Catholic priest. Their services lean toward stand-up comedy with a religious twist. Their mission is to make religion hip, cool and enjoyable.

Well, the subject of finding a love interest has nothing to do with Father Brian, but all the mothers in Jake's congregation feel a need to fix him up with their daughters. Jake feels obligated to go on these dates, but they always seem to be disastrous. And, of course, his mother wants him to marry a nice Jewish girl.

Everything seems to be going fine in their lives until one day Brian tells Jake that Anna is coming into town and wants to see them. Jake instantly wonders why Anna called Brian and not him.

Sixteen years have passed since they have last seen their friend, and the two guys just assume she looks exactly the same. When Anna walks off the plane, mouths drop open. Anna has become a beautiful corporate executive. Immediately Brian and Jake soon begin acting like 13-year-olds.

The three catch up on old times and what has been going on in their lives. From the beginning, Anna innocently flirts with both of them and puts out mixed signals.

While Brian believes Anna likes him, the chemistry heats up between Jake and Anna. The love triangle gets complicated when Anna admits her love for Jake, and the story begins to unfold. But now the confessions aren't just coming from the congregation.

Keeping the Faith is an adorable love comedy for a first date. Ben Stiller puts on a good performance, as always, and the director, Edward Norton, plays an equally well-acted part as well. The film runs a little long, but it works due to Jenna Elfman's bright smile and delightful personality.

There are many humorous scenes, and the dialogue is funny throughout the movie. The majority of the film is religion-based but is presented with a comedic attitude. There are unexpected characters that come into play as well. Keep your eye out for T-bone.

Keeping the Faith opens nationwide Friday.

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