Keeping the Faith - * * *

Edward Norton directs this romantic comedy in which a Catholic priest (Norton) and a rabbi (Ben Stiller), best friends, fall for the same woman (Jenna Elfman) (whom they’ve known since childhood), but neither can marry her. Anne Bancroft, Eli Wallach, Rena Sofer, Milos Forman, Ron Rifkin, and Holland Taylor also star.

Capsule Review: Surprisingly clever, for a movie that seems to be based on one of those old priest-rabbi jokes. A little heavy on the slapstick to start, the film manages to take a serious look at issues of the heart and the soul without ever losing a light comic touch. The lead trio are all wonderful in their roles, with the downside that you feel bad that one will be disappointed in the end. At over two hours, Keeping the Faith is overlong for a romantic comedy, but its charms are rarely spread thin.

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