Sex and Love Babble
Sidewalks of New York
Review by Ross Anthony

Impressed with Edward Burns from his appearance on a talk show and his performance with DeNiro in "15 Minutes," I eagerly awaited the "Sidewalks" screening this past September. However, the tragedy on September 11th, postponed that opportunity until just last night (Oct 28).

In addition to my interest in Burns, I wanted to know why that tragedy had effected the film's release date. Was the story similar? Too violent? The answer ... upon viewing: no and no. This film is about love, sex and cheating -- not war and destruction. However, 50% of the title is "New York" and perhaps the studios felt that the picture's light-hearted look at the love lives of 8 New Yorkers would be better put on hold while the nation mourned. I certainly can respect that decision.

One remark, truism perhaps, does seem to resound just a bit stronger in lieu of American's new reality. With a kind of giddy detachedness, Heather Graham bouncingly makes this point to an "on the street" interviewer, "We don't have any real threats or struggles, so we obsess on silly dumb things, like stuff and sex." (I'm paraphrasing.) In a way, that one line sets the mood for this semi-mock-documentary which tells slice of love lives tales in a pseudo Woody Allen voice. Speaking more towards reality than the glittery Hollywood stereotype, but with a light-hearted satire about the complexities of a subject matter that simply has no simple answers.

All act/improvise fairly well, though Brittany Murphy and Dennis Farina stand out. Brittany, for her completely believable portrayal as the confused 19-year-old mixed up with a married man, but courted by a fast-talking fumbly doorman and Dennis, for the brash outlandish man-dog caricature. He's very funny. They are both sparks in the collage.

Technically speaking, the jittery off-tripod cinematography is annoying early on, you might be forced to look at the seat in front of you for a while. But the extreme jiggling eventually tames. Likewise, the jump cut (cut to same shot) editing scheme similarly bothers. Also, the music seldom hits the mark. That said, this is no "motion picture," nor does it even appear to have been the goal. "Sidewalks" makes a better rental than big screen event. Despite it's shortcomings, Burns' picture is still amusing and never dull: B or B+.

Here's a fun line from a fringe character (also a good performance), "Men are like a disease and most of us have been infected." Of course, this isn't true, but it's funny. (Okay, in some cases, it's true.)

  • Sidewalks of New York. Copyright © 2001. Rated R.
  • Starring Edward Burns, Rosario Dawson, Dennis Farina, Heather Graham, David Krumholtz, Brittany Murphy, Stanley Tucci.
  • Written & Directed by Edward Burns.
  • Produced by Margot Bridger, Edward Burns at Sidewalks.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 07:53:45 PDT