Fans of Ed Burns” movies such as “The Brothers McMullen” and “She”s the One” will most likely be excited to see “Sidewalks of New York.” As with his other movies, Burns wrote, directed and takes a leading role in it. His followers will not be disappointed by this movie. It contains the usual animated conversations and witty repartee between characters. Burns relies on dialogue more than the action or storyline as a signature for his movies.
“Sidewalks of New York” is about the lives of seven New Yorkers. While their stories are playing out, you get to see interviews (done by a random person you never get to know or see). The characters discuss love, sex and their romantic lives in the big city.
A quick synopsis follows (pay attention, it gets confusing): Tommy (Ed Burns) gets dumped and kicked out of the house by his girlfriend. He meets and starts dating Maria (Rosario Dawson) who is still unsure of herself after her divorce from Ben (David Krumholtz). Ben, who is trying to sow his wild oats after his early marriage to Maria, becomes smitten with Ashley (Brittany Murphy), who is having an affair with Griffin (Stanley Tucci), a married man. Annie (Heather Graham), Griffin”s wife, is a real-estate agent who suspects her husband may be cheating on her and therefore feels flattered, and more than a bit intrigued, by Tommy”s sweet advances that occur while she is showing him apartments.
Ed Burns likes to make romances that do not shove the saccharine sweet gobbley-gook down the viewers” throats. He is subtle and yet a classic romanticist. His movies all have an old-fashion charm about them, and this sets his romances apart from the other major Hollywood stuff out there.
Take the recent example of “Serendipity.” Some may think “Sidewalks of New York” is simply an all too reminiscent duplicate of this film being that it is all about relationships and finding that “one” person in a city of millions. Well it is nothing like “Serendipity.” Perhaps it is what “Serendipity” wished it could have been.
“Sidewalks of New York” is not only a romance but a comedy as well. Burns” comedic style is similar to his romantic one in that it is mild and yet no less humorous. His jokes are not slapstick or outrageous like so many comedies today. They give credence to the fact that there still are writers out there that can make an audience laugh without resorting to bodily fluids and bowel movements.
The biggest flaw of this movie would probably be that it tries to make the audience think his characters represent all of New York, when really, the great diversity of the city isn”t really there at all. The characters all seem a little too similar in both their attitudes and their lives even though they are supposed to be so vastly different. It could be that this is the whole point of the movie: No matter how different people may first appear, they are all just people looking for someone to love.