SIDEWALKS OF NEW YORK Image

SIDEWALKS OF NEW YORK

By Rich Cline | November 21, 2001

Burns is back with another one of his whimsical New York romances–nicely entertaining yet not terribly demanding. This time he goes for that Woody Allen groove with straight-to-camera documentary-like clips, comic cutaways, handheld camera work, and so on, as he tells a series of stories about love in the Big Apple. Tommy (Burns) is a yuppie who has just broken up with his long-time girlfriend. He’s staying with a womanising friend (Farina) while he looks for a new apartment, flirting with the real estate agent (Graham) who’s struggling to make sense of her six-year marriage to an unfaithful dentist (Tucci), who has a 19-year-old mistress (Murphy), who is being wooed by a young musician-doorman (Krumholtz), who can’t quite get over his ex-wife (Dawson), who is now being wooed by Tommy. Got that?
There’s nothing remotely new here — it’s basically just another ain’t-love-strange movie. But it is charming and sweet and occasionally witty (although not nearly as funny as it thinks it is). The performances are all superb and natural, like they were improvised by actors who thoroughly got into character (although Burns plays the same guy he always plays). And the film looks very nice, with its edgy urban camera work and editing. But Burns badly needs to find a new genre, because he has already tread this ground before (see “The Brothers McMullen” and She’s the One; his third feature No Looking Back was never released in the UK). Besides being unambitious and rather unoriginal, there’s nothing wrong with this film. The story is tight and engaging, the acting first-rate, the themes solid and presented without being sentimental or preachy. But let’s hope his next film (“Ash Wednesday”) has something new to say.

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