General News

Movie reviews: "Sidewalks of New York"

Nov 21, 2001 | 12:02pm EST

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

On the one hand, there is Jay Carr's rave in the Boston Globe: "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 Burns' The 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 Times): "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."

But 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."

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