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Sidewalks of New York

Ed Burns must watch Woody Allen movies and secretly gnash his teeth and pull out his hair. Sidewalks of New York is a hollow attempt by director/writer/star Burns to emulate Allen's best work, but where Allen's insights are peircing and his humor sharp, Burns' characters are uniformly vapid and his humor flaccid. Burns heads an appealing ensemble cast which includes Heather Graham, Rosario Dawson, Brittany Murphy, Stanley Tucci, David Krumholtz and Dennis Farina, but most of the characters are such dolts that it's a grueling trial to watch them grapple for love and hapiness in Manhattan. Burns, who shot the film in just over two weeks for less than $1 million, mimics the documentary-like style of Allen's Husbands and Wives, complete with character interviews (with an eerily similar sounding interrogator) and jump cuts, but never applies any coherent perspective to his very ordinary observations about romance. Paramount's Sidewalks of New York DVD offers an anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Includes a commentary by Burns, whose insights on low-budget production are actually worth a listen, a documentary on the production, and the trailer. Keep-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr

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