Eye For Film >> Movies >> Sidewalks Of New York (2001) Film Review
Sidewalks Of New York
Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray
An ensemble piece about fraught relationships in New York has to be the latest from Woody Allen. But no. This was written and directed by actor Edward Burns, whose first film, The Brother McMullen, won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 1995.
He uses a documentary technique, whereby the characters talk to camera, as if being interviewed. Example: "When did you lose your virginity?" It is a way of explaining the complex sex lives of six people without doing a Bergman on them.
Tommy (Burns) is from Queens, but has made it uptown as a TV producer. His long-time girlfriend has shown him the door and he's forgotten how to date girls. He meets Maria (Rosario Dawson) in the video store and makes a hash trying to ask her out.
Maria's not ready yet, still hurting from the break-up of her teenage marriage to Benjamin (David Krumholtz), who works as a doorman in an apartment block. Benjamin won't leave her alone and keeps asking for a second chance. He's definitely a saddo, prone to self-pity and playing drippy ballads on his guitar.
He turns to Ashley (Brittany Murphy), a 19-year-old student from Iowa, working in a Greenwich Village coffee shop. She thinks he's sweet, like a furry little animal, although her real affections are for Griffin (Stanley Tucci), a Fifth Avenue dentist, who takes her to an hotel for afternoon rumpy. He's married to Annie (Heather Graham) and cannot risk being seen in public with a girl as young and flirtatious as Ashley. She feels used and puts pressure on Griffin, whose lies are beginning to fray at the edges.
Burns shuffles his cast around, so that interesting combinations are possible. The humour is acerbic - "Men are like a disease and most of us have been infected and there is no cure." Love in the city in the 21st century is built on misconception. Truth is what you say to justify bad behaviour - "Chicks don't brush guys off, guys brush chicks off. That's the way it is." And the vox pop interruptions become intrusive after a while.
You miss Woody's wit.Reviewed on: 04 Apr 2002