The complicated dating life is told in Sidewalks of New York, a smart and funny comedy-drama from writer/director/actor Edward Burns, starring himself, Heather Graham, Rosario Dawson, Brittany Murphy, Stanley Tucci, and David Krumholtz.
The movie tells the story of a large love circle, nothing too dramatic but interesting nonetheless. A dentist (Stanley Tucci) is cheating on his wife (Heather Graham), a real estate agent, with a 19-year old waitress (Brittany Murphy). However, the waitress is getting fed up with the secretive affairs and starts falling for a bellboy (David Krumholtz) who is the ex-husband of a teacher (Rosario Dawson) who is beginning to see a producer (Ed Burns) who has set his eyes on the dentist's wife. Sidewalks of New York avoids the cliché crisscrossing antics that most "love circle" movies tell, and instead tries to be more realistic. Not all of the characters meet each other, and it really doesn't matter, because it's supposed to be the story of just six average people on... the sidewalks of New York.
Sidewalks of New York is relatively funny, a mixture of good dialogue and some comical situational things. The movie is told in a semi-documentary format, and while this does allow Burns to do some funny things like giving their different perspectives on a certain scene we just saw directly to the camera, this is the only flaw in the film, a minor one. For the most part, Burns could have pulled off the same thing without having small "interview" snippets, which just sort of cut up the pace of the film, but after ten or fifteen minutes they either stop or fade in to the background for the most part. Burns' directing style is pretty good; I liked how he'd cut to flashbacks every once in a while, or at least jump to another related scene. Brittany Murphy looking at her watch while having sex says it all.
The acting is good all around, although I must say the movie might have been a little more believable had there been actors that aren't recognizable (of course, then this movie would have never even managed the limited release that it received). Since Sidewalks of New York is in documentary format, and trying to appear as though it is interviewing real New York characters, the likes of Heather Graham and Stanley Tucci don't work so well. Of course, the actors make up for it by providing some well-balanced characters, but it still should have been something that Burns took into mind. Out of all the relationships in the movie, the most interesting was the one between Murphy and Krumholtz; it was the most believe and most fun to watch.
I was expecting a rather dull and boring drama from Sidewalks of New York, but thankfully received quite the opposite. It's not a movie that you should go out of your way to see, but if it's sitting in front of you, it's definitely worth a viewing.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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