Norton's directorial debut feature (discounting his re-cut of American History X) is a romantic triangle dating movie as confected, and nearly as wholesome, as a '50s Universal bedroom farce, but lacking the confidence and zest. The script sandwiches svelte exec Anna (Elfman) between two former girlhood chums, Jake (Stiller) and Brian (Norton), after her return to Manhattan from a contrived 10 years in California. In the interim, Jake's become a rabbi, and Brian a priest. Can Jake tell Rabbi Lewis (Wallach) he's to marry a shiksa? Can celibate Brian declare his heart and break Jake's? Norton sets this up with intriguing effect, playing the listener as Stiller carries off all the funny lines, but drops the ball halfway, losing the humour among a string of confessionals. Elfman (the star of TV's Dharma and Greg) has the hardest task, to humanise, sweeten and give credibility to a character who's a paragon of wealth and beauty. All credit to her, she manages it pretty well, though her poise can sometimes seem like disengagement.
Cast and crew