Keeping The Faith
*** GM
Starring: Ben Stiller, Edward Norton, Jenna Elfman

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You know, this weird visceral unpleasant reaction I have with some actresses may be something I can overcome. Through no fault of her own, Jenna Elfman had managed to get on that list - perhaps the annoyance I have at the whole "Dharma & Greg" vibe is the reason why - although that's not necessarily easily explainable, either. However, with "Keeping The Faith," she's really starting to make her way OFF of that list.

Jake (Ben Stiller), Brian (Edward Norton) and Anna (Elfman) were best friends growing up in New York until she had to move to California before high school started. Jake became a rabbi, Brian a Catholic priest, and both were determined to bring their respective religions up to date with the times and liven things up a bit, make people WANT to go to their respective houses of worship. Then high-powered executive Anna drops by for a visit after about 15 years and up sprouts a predictable but odd love triangle.

Elfman seems to be in the Minnie Driver school of actresses that usually play the kickass woman that a lot of guys would love to know - someone who can actually be a fun friend to hang out with even when no one's trying to get into anyone's pants. True, it's not a bad thing that her pants would be pleasant to get into, but it doesn't always have to be the main priority of the relationship. This character, combined with the genuinely funny Stiller and Norton make this movie work. The twist being that these aren't the cynical, fatalistic people that are in most films, but people who actually have faith and DON'T make it a huge issue in their relationships with others - or if they do, they learn the mistake of doing that.

If this film can do anything to help usher in an era of 'relaxed-and-grooviness' to organized religion, I'm all for it. I doubt it's going to happen very much, though... a lot of people seem to prefer their worship to be dull and lifeless, thus turning off a lot of younger kids. Personally, it's not too big a deal to me, since I don't particularly believe in those slices of belief. But if it helps the people who DO believe to be a bit more open about people who don't believe the same thing, that's a world of good right there.

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