Projections - Movie Reviews

Sidewalks of New York

Sidewalks of New York

Ed Burns gives his admirers plenty of New York minutes to enjoy in the postponed Sidewalks of New York.

Burns got his big break with the Sundance winning with very low budget The Brothers McMullen while he was an Entertainment tonight production assistant, and showed good taste for casting and character development regarding interrelationships in She's the One.

After two noteworthy parts alongside Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan and Robert DeNiro in 15 Minutes, Burns displays more homage to Woody Allen as he broadens the horizons of disparate New York love stories before the horrors of September 11th.

The use of a hand-held camera through most of Sidewalks adds to the personalization of six characters whose lives intersect mostly by chance as Burns scatters them all over New York and he plays an every man type named Tommy.

After opening with some frank dialogue about each character's first sexual encounter, Sidewalks of New York has Tommy getting advice, comically drawn, by his boss, Dennis Farina's smugly urbane Carpo, who provides him with temporary lodging.

Then Burns' circular tale with an appealing affinity for its settings has the gifted TV producer caught between his feelings for an attractive divorced schoolteacher, Maria (Rosario Dawson) and a bespectacled, blonde married realtor named Annie (Heather Graham - From Hell) who is a content, confident Upper East Side woman.

Connections are made through Benjamin (David Krumholtz - Slums of Beverly Hills) who is Maria's ex from Brooklyn earning a living as a hotel doorman.  Benjamin is losing his opportunity to return to a vulnerable Maria as he is lured by a coffee shop waitress, Brittany Murphy's Ashley, who is a guitarist at NYU.  And Ashley is involved in a somewhat unpleasant affair with the dentist husband of Annie, the once-divorced Griffin who hails from the Bronx.

Burns directs with attention to the diversity of human traits of those who probably ask too much of themselves and have the worries and hang-ups that go with it.

While its somewhat fitful bounciness tends to mask a fleeting unimaginative streak into the consciousness, Sidewalks of New York handles its interpersonal ways with more maturity than many of the more risqué jokes would indicate.  And though Burns doesn't really stretch as an actor or scripter, his pride behind the camera comes full circle and lets Graham and Dawson display a range which helps to make some engaging acquaintances on the streets of a city which is becoming caustically united.

 
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Sidewalks of New York
 
 
 
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