Keeping The Faith
What do a priest and a rabbi have in common? For Rabbi Jake Schram (Ben Stiller) and Father Brian Finn (Edward Norton), the answer is everything, except r eligious doctrine -- a subject they never discuss anyway. But more than sports and sermons, the greatest link between the two young ecclesiastical leaders left their lives when they were 12 -- and now Anna Reilly (Jenna Elfman) is about to return.
Obviously Brian is disqualified from having a relationship, and Jake is already under pressure from his superiors and mother to find a nice Jewish girl. Yet with the hopes of rebuilding a bygone friendship, both anxiously await the arrival of their grade school buddy of no particular religion.
A driven businesswoman, Anna works in one of those great "movie" jobs. When she isn't blabbering "money-speak" at secretaries, she's peering through binoculars from her prestigious downtown high-rise office into another building where a male corporate executive engages in sexual fantasies with female guests. Enjoying her "view", it's obvious Anna wants to fulfil her own sexual desires. That's when she picks up the phone and calls Jake...
While Jake isn't under the same oath of celibacy that Brian faces, from a Jewish perspective I suspect a rabbi's decision to engage in frequent releases of pent up sexual frustrations, especially with a non-Jewish woman, would be met with some disdain. However, watching him struggle with the idea that he may not be able to continue his religious duties because of his relationship with Anna, indicates that his position as rabbi is still important to him.
On the other hand, Father Brian tries to keeps close to his faith, even though the script allows him to wander into temptation. Concerned, he seeks guidance from his elder superior, Father Havel (Milos Forman) who councils him that it's normal for a priest to desire love and affection.
Ultimately trying to please everyone, this movie promotes cooperation between faiths. However, with generous sexual content, profanities, and moments that some viewers may deem sacrilegious, parents may not want to put too much faith in this movie teaching religious values.