[Screen It]


(2000) (Edward Norton, Ben Stiller) (PG-13)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Moderate None Moderate None None
Mild None None Minor Heavy
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Heavy Minor Mild Mild Mild

Romantic Comedy: Two single men, one a priest, the other a rabbi, find themselves falling for their childhood friend who's grown up into a beautiful businesswoman and has returned into their lives.
Father Brian Finn (EDWARD NORTON) and Rabbi Jake Schram (BEN STILLER) have been best friends ever since growing up in Manhattan as kids. Despite coming from different religious backgrounds, the two get along fabulously well, and have instilled their sermons with enough enthusiasm that their services are packed. Even so, some members of Jake's temple, including Larry Friedman (RON RIFKIN), aren't crazy about his non-traditional methods, although the older and wise Rabbi Lewis (ELI WALLACH) tries to act somewhat as a peacemaker between the opposing views.

While Brian is obviously restricted by religious doctrine from having a girlfriend or wife, Jake is still an eligible bachelor, a fact that hasn't been overlooked by those in his congregation who want to fix him up with some eligible young Jewish woman, such as Bonnie Rose (HOLLAND TAYLOR) who wants him to date her daughter, Rachel (RENA SOFER), a network TV news reporter.

The one woman who had the most impact on either man's lives, however, was Anna Reilly (JENNA ELFMAN), a close childhood friend of theirs who moved away when they were still kids. Thus, when she returns to Manhattan's Upper West Side for a job assignment, their interest in her, as well as a hidden competition for her affection, returns.

While none of the three is immediately open with their feelings for the others, some complications do arise. For one, Jake's mother, Ruth (ANNE BANCROFT), hasn't spoken to his brother in several years since he married a non-Jewish woman, and finding himself in a similar situation doesn't sit well with him. Brian, on the other hand, finds his vow of celibacy coming into question, something he discusses with his superior, Father Havel (MILOS FORMAN).

As a secret relationship eventually develops between Anna and one of the men, the three must figure out how to deal with that romance and their friendship, while the two men must contemplate how all of that affects their religious future.

Those who are fans of someone in the cast or of romantic comedies might, but this one doesn't seem like a big draw for many other kids.
For some sexuality and language.
  • EDWARD NORTON plays a priest who questions his vows, including those of celibacy, when he finds himself falling for Anna. In response to how things work about between him and her, he ends up drinking and being drunk in one instance.
  • BEN STILLER plays a rabbi who falls for and carries on a romantic/sexual relationship with Anna but finds himself torn between his love for her and his worries of how his Jewish mother and congregation will react to him dating a non-Jewish woman. He also uses some profanity.
  • JENNA ELFMAN plays a busy executive who falls for Jake and begins a casual romantic/sexual relationship with him. She briefly uses strong profanity.
  • ANNE BANCROFT plays Jake's opinionated mother who hasn't talked to his brother for several years since he married a non-Jewish woman.
  • RON RIFKIN plays a member of Jake's temple who's against his ruffling the feathers of tradition.
  • ELI WALLACH plays an older rabbi who tries to find compromise between that tradition and Jake's progressive ways.
  • MILOS FORMAN plays an older priest who gives Brian some advice about how to deal with the priesthood and having feelings toward women.


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.

    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).

    The following is a quick look at the content found in this PG-13 rated romantic comedy. Some sexually related fooling around occurs between two main characters (no nudity or anything too explicit) as well as two other characters seen through binoculars in another office. Sexual encounters are implied and/or take place off camera, while non-explicit sexual dialogue and conversations are also present.

    One such encounter takes place between a rabbi and a non-Jewish woman and religion is directly tied to the sexual and romantic relationships that develop (as far as how the rabbi and priest respond to their urges). Profanity consists of what sounded like 1 use of the "f" word, while other profanities and colorful phrases are also uttered. A moderate amount of drinking occurs with the priest ending up drunk over several scenes, and some bad attitudes are present but certainly aren't horrible.

    Violence consists of a few characters being both purposefully and accidentally hit, while a few instances of imitative behavior are present. Beyond that, however, the rest of the film's remaining categories are mostly void of any other major objectionable content. Nevertheless, should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, we suggest that you take a closer look at our more detailed content listings.

  • We see Brian walking along with a bottle of liquor in a brown paper bag that he then empties into his mouth. We then see him stumbling down the street with another bottle until he finally falls into some garbage.
  • Brian has a beer in a bar, where a miscellaneous woman has a drink. After she leaves, Brian starts telling his tale to the bartender. Later, we then see that the two of them have been drinking (and see the bartender, who's a bit tipsy, drink a shot).
  • The friends briefly talk about some kid back in eighth grade who always complained and smoked pot.
  • Brian, Jake, Anna and Jake's date have wine with dinner.
  • Jake's date asks if he wants to come up to her place for a nightcap, but he declines the offer.
  • People have drinks at a reception, including Jake who has a beer, and Anna who downs two shots of liquor and talks about such a shot of liquor making her giddy.
  • Jake, Brian, Anna and Jake's mom have wine with dinner.
  • After realizing he's made a fool of himself with Anna, Brian takes a mini-bottle of liquor from a hotel room and guzzles it down.
  • We see repeat footage from the first entry where Brian is drinking while walking/stumbling down a street (we then see him the next morning waking up with a bottle inside a brown paper bag). He then shows up drunk at a bar mitzvah that Jake is presiding over. When Jake comments on the booze, Brian states that he's Irish and that the liquor is like milk to him.
  • Back in the bar from the beginning of the film, we see that both Brian and the bartender have been drinking (and appear somewhat intoxicated) and the bartender even jokes, "I don't do penance, I do shots."
  • People have champagne at a going away party, including Anna.
  • None.
  • In a flashback, we see a sixth-grade bully holding both Jake and Brian by their throats.
  • Some may take offense to Brian referring to himself, Anna and Jake as "Two micks and a yid."
  • In addition, some viewers may take offense at the way various religious elements are played/portrayed, such as Brian and Jake trying to "jazz up" their sermons from what they consider the boring, traditional ways, or a flashback where Brian tries to teach Jake how to cross himself by stating (as he moves his hands to the various positions on his body), "Spectacles, testicles, watch, wallet." That said, none of what occurs in the film is purposefully intended as a parody or to be demeaning/disrespectful to any particular religion.
  • Some viewers may take offense to Anna joking that she works harder than God and that if he had hired her during the creation of Earth, she would have been done by Thursday.
  • The friends briefly talk about a shoplifting club from their childhood where you had to steal something to belong.
  • Although they've agreed not to be serious with each other (despite having a sexual relationship), Jake acts as if Anna is nothing but a friend in front of members of his congregation (this makes Anna feel bad).
  • Jake and Anna keep their relationship secret from Brian.
  • None.
  • None.
  • Phrases: "Holy sh*t," "Shut up," "Chick(s)" (women), "Wuss," "Suck," "Sucking," "Balls" (testicles), "Freaking," "Pissed off," "Piece of ass (sexual), "Bust their balls," "Idiot," "Jerk," "Loser," "Moron" and "Freaking."
  • The friends briefly talk about a shoplifting club from their childhood where you had to steal something to belong.
  • After his date repeatedly urges and then taunts him to punch her in the stomach (to show how firm her abs are), Jake punches her, doubling her over and sending her to the floor (all played for laughs).
  • Anna spies on the occupants of another office building (particularly a man and woman having an affair) with her binoculars.
  • None.
  • None.
  • The song "Jesse's Girl," sung via a karaoke machine, has the line, "And she's loving him with that body, I just know it."
  • At least 1 possible "f" word, 3 "s" words, 1 slang term for breasts ("rack"), 4 hells, 2 asses (1 in subtitles), 1 damn, 6 uses of "God," 5 of "Oh my God," 4 of "Oh God," 2 each of "Jesus" and "My God," and 1 use each of "Jesus Christ" and "Oh Jesus" as exclamations.
  • In a flashback and as Brian tries to teach a young Jake how to cross himself (like a Catholic), we see various on screen sketches superimposed over their bodies showing the full course of their hand movements. As such, one of them briefly shows a rough outline drawing of a woman's nude torso, complete with bare breasts.
  • We see some hookers on the street who wear short skirts and cleavage revealing tops.
  • After a member of his congregation mentions sexual perversion in relation to Sodom and Gomorrah, Jake jokes that this man has been watching too much of the Spice Channel.
  • Jake goes out on a date with a woman wearing a short skirt and a top that shows her cleavage. At the end of the date, she somewhat comes on to him and asks if he wants to come back up to her place "to tuck me in." He declines the offer.
  • Anna spies on the occupants of another office building (particularly a man and woman having an affair) with her binoculars. As such, we see the two clothed people making out and him holding her leg up alongside his body. Later, we see another view of them fooling around (the man is in his dress shirt and boxers with his pants around his ankles).
  • A kid in a confessional talks about a woman having a nice "rack" (breasts) and Brian responds that everyone has those sorts of similar feelings. When they then run into Anna on the street, the kid comments that she has "a nice ass" (in subtitles).
  • Talking in Central Park, Brian asks Anna if this is going to be their "sex talk." She says that it is and then goes on to ask him if he has sex (by asking, "You don't...?") and if he ever did. He says that he has (as he rhythmically pumps his hand to symbolize sex when she asks him "Have you ever...?") and she then asks "With women?" He affirms that and she then asks if he misses it or is tempted. He says no to both and she then asks if he fantasizes about it and he states he occasionally has related dreams. She can't believe that he can go without it and states that sometimes she just craves contact and wants to be touched and touch someone.
  • Anna shows Brian and Jake that she's wearing her miniature cell phone in her garter (we see the upper part of her bare thigh) and that it's set to vibrate there (she says she has a relationship with her phone).
  • Jake shows up at Anna's place and the two immediately begin passionately making out (while we see clothing dropping to the floor). We then see him on top of her on a bed kissing her (but don't see anything else). The scene then stops and we later briefly see them in bed together (under the sheets and presumably after sex) where Anna states that she hasn't screamed that hard since the U.S. Olympic hockey team beat the Russians. He then makes a joke about doing a "full body cavity" search on her. During this, the camera briefly focuses on her bare thigh as she rolls over in bed.
  • Anna tells Jake, "Sometimes I want to jump you" and we then see them kiss and him get on top of her on her bed (but don't see anything else). Later, we see Anna getting dressed (and see her in her bra).
  • Later, we see Jake on top of Anna and then her on top of him where some clothes are being unbuttoned, but this stops with a phone call. We then see an aerial view of them with him on top of her between her spread legs (no nudity or explicit movement).
  • We see another view of the couple across the way in another building with the clothed man behind the bent over clothed woman, and then see him standing (with his pants around his ankles but his dress shirt covering anything explicit) and holding her as she has her legs around his waist.
  • Jake suggestively jokes that Anna needs a "good spanking."
  • Anna shows some cleavage in a tank top she wears, especially when she bends over toward the camera.
  • During what turns out to be an erotic dream, Brian stretches Anna's leg in a park while she makes pseudo-sexual sounds. She then tears off her shirt and we see her in her bra, but Brian wakes up then.
  • A store clerk boasts that he "got a piece of ass" the night before during his sales pitch to Brian and Jake.
  • We see a sculpture in a museum with a man and woman embraced in a kiss and we see the woman's bare breasts.
  • Father Havel smokes a cigar, while a painting shows a man with a cigarette and another with a pipe.
  • We learn that Jake's mother hasn't talked to her other son (his brother) for several years due to that brother marrying a now Jewish woman (other references are also made to this later in the film).
  • The men's religious callings and how they affect their relationships with women.
  • Jake and Brian's efforts to infuse more enthusiasm into their sermons to get more people interested in religion.
  • We learn that Jake's mother hasn't talked to his brother for several years due to that brother marrying a now Jewish woman.
  • In a flashback, we see a sixth-grade bully holding both Jake and Brian by their throats. In turn, Anna goes over to this bully and kicks him in the crotch, thus causing him to relinquish his grip.
  • There's some slapstick material including Brian accidentally hitting himself on the head with his own hand (and knocking himself to the floor), Brian accidentally hitting a parishioner on the head with a thurible (the censer filled with incense) and his robe then briefly catching on fire, and a woman falls to the street after being in a tug of war of sorts with Jake.
  • After his date repeatedly urges and then taunts him to punch her in the stomach (to show how firm her abs are), Jake punches her, doubling her over and sending her to the floor (all played for laughs).
  • During their date, that woman uses her purse to hit a homeless person who stops by and asks for money.
  • Brian punches Jake for lying to him and breaking up with Anna.
  • Jake must contend with a huge security guard who won't let him into her office building. As such, he runs into and bounces off the guard's bulky body, and the guard later clotheslines Jake as he tries to run to the elevator.

  • Reviewed April 1, 2000 / Posted April 14, 2000

    Other new and recent reviews include:

    [1917] [Bombshell] [Cats] [Little Women] [Spies In Disguise] [Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker] [Uncut Gems]

    Privacy Statement and Terms of Use and Disclaimer
    By entering this site you acknowledge to having read and agreed to the above conditions.

    All Rights Reserved,
    ©1996-2020 Screen It, Inc.