Lauded after his 1994 debut "The Brothers McMullen" as a potential Woody Allen for the reflectively cynical generation, writer-director-actor Edward Burns may truly begin living up to that label with "Sidewalks of New York," a sardonic yet hopeful love letter to the difficulties and dilemmas of the Manhattan mating game.
Structured around on-the-street interviews with its characters, the picture is a compound parable of crossing paths in the messy love lives of half a dozen Gotham denizens, starting with a cocksure young TV producer played by Burns himself.
Recently kicked out by his long-term, live-in girlfriend, Burns clicks with a pretty, polemic schoolteacher (Rosario Dawson) at a video store when they butt heads over the only copy of a movie. Meanwhile, Dawson's sad-sack ex-husband (David Krumholtz), a doorman and wannabe rocker who never got over their break-up, plays puppy dog to a button-cute, 19-year-old waitress (Brittany Murphy) until she agrees to go out with him. But the esteem-impaired girl is already sleeping with a manipulative, misogynistic father figure (Stanley Tucci), whose neglected, naive but rapidly wising-up, Upper East Side wife (Heather Graham) is a real estate agent who happens to be helping Burns find a new place to live.
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