Movie reviews: “Sidewalks of New York”

Edward Burns‘ return to no-budget independent movie making with
Sidewalks of New York is receiving a mixed reception from

On the one hand, there is Jay Carr’s rave in the Boston
: “The film’s flaws seem unimportant, and it passes the big
test, making you want to find out what happens to these characters. …
It’s the most satisfying film yet from Edward Burns. Not just for
audiences, but, you feel, for the actors.”

On the other hand, there is
Chris Vognar’s pan in the Dallas Morning News: “It’s looking more
and more like Ed Burns had only one good film in him,” he writes,
referring to BurnsThe Brothers McMullen. Of the new film Vognar
says, “It all feels terribly contrived, like something that Woody Allen
could have written in a fitful sleep.”

Indeed, several critics compare
Burns‘ work with Allen’s. (Burns himself acknowledges that Allen is one
of his greatest influences.)

Writes Jami Bernard in the New York
Daily News
: “Constructed, written and shot like a signature Woody
Allen romantic comedy but without any of the charm or novelty,
Sidewalks is a waterlogged bagel, hardly the valentine to New
York it imagines itself to be.” The film had originally been scheduled
to open the week following the Sept. 11 attacks.

Notes Newsday‘s
John Anderson (whose review also appears in the Los Angeles
): “In one of the first scenes, you can see the late World
Trade Center, looming majestically, directly over Burns‘ right shoulder.
Which wouldn’t be so bad. But it’s giving the better performance.”

Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times was clearly charmed by the
film, saying that he was “baffled” by Paramount’s decision to postpone
its release. “The movie is funny without being hilarious,” Ebert writes,
“touching but not tearful, and articulate in the way that Burns is
articulate, by nibbling earnestly around an idea as if afraid that the
core has seeds.”