Cinema: Vow of Comedy

MASS APPEAL

Directed by Glenn Jordan

Screenplay by Bill C. Davis

Some priests have flocks; Father Tim Farley (Jack Lemmon) has fans. The 5:20 Mass is S.R.O. for this Johnny Carson in alb and chasuble, who keeps the customers satisfied with ingratiating patter—dinner and a show for the price of your soul. Off-pulpit, Father Farley is a bit of a sacramental wino but still relentlessly endearing, dodging attacks and responsibilities with an easy quip. Somewhere beneath the show-biz charm, though, compassion pulses. When an angry young seminarian (Zeljko Ivanek) antagonizes his rector (Charles Burning), Father Farley resolves to detoxify the lad's ardor,...

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