Sidewalks of New York focuses on six New Yorkers and their love lives. There is Tommy (Edward Burns), a television producer who attempts to start up a relationship with Maria (Rosario Dawson), a teacher. She was once married to Ben (David Krumholtz), a musician who is attracted to Ashley (Brittany Murphy), a 19-year old waitress who is having an affair with a 39-year old dentist named Griffin (Stanley Tucci). He’s married to Annie (Heather Graham), a real estate agent currently showing apartments to Tommy, who starts showing an interest in her when his romantic endeavors with Maria yield less than promising results.
If you’ve never seen a Woody Allen film before in your life than there is a good chance that you may enjoy Sidewalks of New York. The ensemble cast is somewhat appealing with Tucci and Dennis Farina, as Tommy’s slimy friend Carpo, being the true standouts. These characters, however, are a bunch of whiny neurotics who have nothing better to do than cheat on each other and attempt to get laid (where have we heard this one before?). Why anyone would want to have a relationship with them let alone watch a movie based on them is beyond me.
If Burns actually had something interesting to say about relationships in today’s society, then his aping of Woody Allen’s work would be more tolerable. His irritating use of jittery hand-held camerawork and jump cuts, the same style that plagued Allen’s Husbands and Wives and Deconstructing Harry, only draws more comparison between the two filmmakers.
Sidewalks Of New York is ultimately a bland knockoff of Allen’s 1992 comedy/drama Husbands and Wives only with six irritating lead characters instead of four. This is a tired, contrived film that has nothing new to say on the subject of relationships or neurotic New Yorkers. Were it not for the appealing performances of Stanley Tucci and Dennis Farina , this would be one Sidewalk worth avoiding altogether.
Here is a suggestion to Burns: for your next film, take the obnoxious characters that Stanley Tucci and Dennis Farina played and base an entire movie around them. Put the camera on a tripod and smooth out the editing. Don’t try to regurgitate old theories on love and relationships. Just turn the camera on and let the boys improvise. It may not be high art, but at least it would be entertaining.