In this charming intertwining tale of love, lost, and sex, director and writer Edward Burns stars as a posh New York salesman Tommy who falls for a City school teacher named Maria (Rosario Dawson). She is being annoyed by her door man/musician ex-husband Ben (David Krumholtz), who is re-discovering love with the help of Ashley (Brittany Murphy), who wants to be with him, but is stuck in a tawdry affair with Griffin (Stanley Tucci), who is stuck in a dead end marriage to the highly opinionated liberal real estate saleswoman Annie (Heather Graham) who is falling for Ed Burns’ character, who is being coldly snubbed by Maria. Wasn’t that a mouth full?
Ed Burns directs “Sidewalks…” with a lot of depth and simplicity. He doesn’t hog the screen despite the fact this movie is practically his brainchild. He’s only in a minimal portion of the movie and doesn’t make himself the center of attention. The writing is surprisingly witty and charming with a lot of corky characters plastering this movie. Rosario Dawson is pretty good in this as Maria, giving a truly annoying and fickle character. David Krumholtz is good as the neurotic and obsessive Ben who dresses up in his goofy doorman’s outfit throughout the movie. He’s often hilarious and a very likable underdog character to root for. He’s probably the most interesting character in the entire film. Brittany Murphy gives a charming and cute performance as the meek and shy Ashley who falls for Ben. A lot of the characters have very distorted views of marriage and sex, often having varying views on the actual concept of marriage as a one woman/man commitment or validating having affairs.
We often hear commentaries from each of the characters as we watch their reactions to their present situations and we’re often let in on secrets their not, so Burns enables us to feel like we’re being let in on the action. The situations in this are often very realistic accompanied by Burn’s sharp witty writing and dialogue, resembling true conversations with often overlapping dialogue between the characters. That said, while Burn’s does his best to make his directing very realistic, and at the same time sacrifices his true revelation of skill. His camera work is often pretty shaky, making it hard and distracting to concentrate on the movie and its situations. Often times at an attempt to make this seem like it’s really happening rather than a scripted situation, the camera will walk up to its characters like it’s a bad episode of “The Real World”. Though the direction is lacking, “Sidewalks of New York” is a charming movie with great characters and a sharp script.