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Sidewalks of New York

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Sidewalks of New York

Starring: Edward Burns, Heather Graham
Director: Edward Burns
Rated: R
RunTime: 107 Minutes
Release Date: November 2001
Genres: Comedy, Romance

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

Probably the best way to think of SIDEWALKS OF NEW YORK, written and directed by Ed Burns (SHE'S THE ONE and THE BROTHERS MCMULLEN), is to consider it as science fiction. How else can you explain a homely looking, bald guy like Stanley Tucci cheating on a sexpot wife like Heather Graham? In this parallel universe, Ed Burns is Woody Allen without the wit. A story of musical chairs among couples who move without any conviction or commitment from one shallow relationship to another, there are few honest or funny moments. This is a serious flaw since the movie has a pseudo-documentary style with the actors stopping frequently to speak directly to the camera in interviews about the quality of their sex lives and meaning of their love lives.

The complexity of the story is barely worth remembering so forgive me if I forget who bedded whom first. Ben (David Krumholtz) is a nerdy doorman who looks like Sgt. Pepper. He still pines for his ex-wife, Maria (Rosario Dawson), a sixth-grade teacher. She left him after he had an affair. Rule number one in the story is that almost everyone has had, is having or will have an affair. Lately Ben has been getting the hots for Ashley (Brittany Murphy), a waitress who is nineteen going on fourteen. She initially turns him down because she is having an affair with Griffin (Stanley Tucci), a man old enough to be her father. A dentist who likes to goose his receptionist, Griffin is married to Annie (Heather Graham), a real estate agent. The ever-faithful Annie is having the moves put on her by one of her clients, Tommy (Ed Burns), who recently was tossed out by his live-in girlfriend for committing the crime of wanting kids. Griffin and Annie are best friends with yet another married couple, each of whom is having an affair. Dennis Farina plays a classic older playboy named Carpo who actually isn't cheating on anyone since he has a different woman just about every night. And so on and so forth.

What everyone shares in common is that they talk incessantly. Nobody ever shuts up and listens, and most of what they do say is absolute drivel. Griffin's idea of a come-on line is, "You have the look of the new millennium." (I am not making this up.) Miracle of miracles, this little ditty proves so powerful that with it he can pick up gorgeous women less than half his age. And you thought dating was hard, guys.

Given the amount of the chatter, it's probably not surprising that they do come up with a few good lines. Maria, for example, refers to herself as a "born-again virgin." My favorite occurs when Carpo tries to hit on Maria. "You have to ask yourself," he tells her. "Do you want to sit on the porch with the pups, or play in the yard with the big dogs?" And you have to ask yourself whether you'll settle for this ersatz Woody Allen or you'll wait for the real thing.

SIDEWALKS OF NEW YORK runs 1:47. It is rated R for "sexual content and language" and would be acceptable for most teenagers.

Copyright 2001 Steve Rhodes

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