Tue December 4, 2001
Sidewalks of New York
All we get here are actors whose lives and conversation are punctuated by no more wisdom than comments about perfuming private parts and penis size.
By John DeSando, WCBE's "It's Movie Time"
Ed Burns's Tommy Riley is caught renting "Breakfast at Tiffany's," leading to an affair and a pregnancy. This is the most excitement you're going to get in this Woody Allen rip-off.
"Husbands and Wives" may have been gloomier than this faux documentary about sex in NY City, but it has the Allen wit to make people interesting and seriously neurotic. All we get here are actors who really sound as if they come from Queens and surrounding areas, but whose lives and conversation are punctuated by no more wisdom than comments about perfuming private parts and penis size.
The hand-held camera shots are as distracting and uncomfortable as usual (Woody has used the technique much more effectively when he tracks a party with it), but the jump cuts that remove frames to give an edgy feel are downright annoying.
Tip of the hat to Stanley Tucci, whose decaying, philandering dentist beats Steve Martin's "Novocaine" hero tooth and nail. Tucci is the only character base and gross enough to make you care about his slutty college coed affair. Dennis Farina as TV producer Burns's studly TV star boss is a reprise of his tough, horny cop or crook. Heather Graham needs acting lessons.
If this man-on-the street documentary style had accurately depicted the outcomes of all the characters, we'd have been visiting the morgue or simply watching "Breakfast at Tiffany's" knowing that piece is fluff New York but fun. "Sidewalks
of New York" tries to be real but ends up making me feel I've been caught listening to sophomore coeds at a slumber party talking about sex. Some bright moments but mostly high-pitched banality.
John DeSando co-hosts WCBE's "It's Movie Time" and vice-chairs the Board of the Film Council of Greater Columbus.