Sidewalks of New York

If people in New York act and think like the people (especially the men) in Sidewalks of New York, then that's certainly a good reason to stay away. This movie is another attempt to be like Woody Allen, with lots of people looking (unsuccessfully) for love and doing a lot of talking. This is the latest film from writer/director/actor Edward Burns (15 Minutes, Saving Private Ryan), and it follows the lives of six interconnected New Yorkers in their quest for love, or just a little booty. Burns does do a good job of weaving the stories together and making sure nothing stays boring. Burns is Tommy. Tommy is looking for a new apartment after the breakup of his relationship.

He meets Annie (Heather Graham, From Hell, Say It Isn't So), a real estate agent. She throws cryptic hints about an unhappy marriage with Griffin (Stanley Tucci, Scottsboro: An American Tragedy, The Whole Shebang). Annie pique's Tommy's interest, but he respects her marriage. Griffin does not. He is having an affair with Ashley (Brittany Murphy, Summer Catch, Don't Say a Word), a young waitress. Ben (David Krumholtz, The Mexican, How to Kill Your Neighbor's Dog), a doorman and band member is also infatuated with Ashley. Ben is also infatuated with his ex-wife Maria (Rosario Dawson, Josie and the Pussycats, Down to You), a teacher. And, it turns out that Maria just met Tommy. Whew!

Usually, there is a point to all the blabbering about love and relationships. Burns' script covers familiar ground, and there is nothing special to set it apart from other movies of this ilk. He does throw in some nice jokes and witty retorts, but more often than not Sidewalks of New York feels like it is treading water. None of the people are that interesting, and it may be the result of two things. First, they may not be that interesting in the first place. Second, Burns does not give each relationship enough screen time to a single relationship, so there is not enough time to delve deeper into their personalities.

The most annoying element of Sidewalks is how Burns has the characters address the cameras, as if being filmed for a documentary. The unknown camera crew follows the various people as they navigate the travails of their respective relationships. This is a lazy way to move the story forward, by having the character narrate their feelings directly to the audience. It also makes one wonder at the access of this camera crew. They are interviewing Annie, who is having doubts about Griffin's fidelity, and Griffin, who is having a full-blown affair. At one point, this imaginary crew interviews him in a hotel room after a lunchtime tryst with Ashley. How did they get there? He's still in a robe! No!

Mongoose Rates It: Okay.
1 hour, 47 minutes, Rated R for sexual content and language.

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