Sidewalks of New York is a film that wants oh-so-badly to be 'hip.' Unfortunately for Mr. Burns, trying to be 'hip' is the one thing that is absolutely guaranteed to spoil the effect. It is also a film that desperately wants to be Husbands and Wives. Again, unfortunately, Burns is decidedly no Woody Allen.
I actually sort of vaguely remember maybe liking She's the One, but I barely remember that film at all, so I'm going to go ahead and say that he isn't a very good filmmaker. Life just isn't fair, is it?
Burns seems to have a reputation for being able to write good dialogue, but he really can't--no, what he does is write his approximation of how he thinks cool people ought to talk, peppered with his own allegedly clever commentary about love, which essentially boils down to shockers about how men and women are, you know, different, and relationships are, you know complicated--for a film that's meant to be a hip, irreverant view of relationships, there's precious little actual insight here. I'd go so far as to say there's none, actually.
Burns's characters are--let's not fool ourselves--shallow and dull. Not that shallow and dull characters can't be made to be interesting, but Burns, as previously noted, is no Woody Allen. And in any case, they're not MEANT to be that way here. They are annoying and artificial, with somewhat disturbingly one-tracked minds (sex, natch), frequently acting how Burns needs them to act to get a properly pat ending, rather than in any way that actual humans would behave. And on a side note, how is it that a movie about Modern Love has no gay characters?
Okay, so it's not all bad--I liked it when characters yelled at each other, (yelling's always fun), and Dennis Farina is somewhat amusing as a uber-Don Juan type, but honestly, people, is this what passes for clever nowadays? And so our standards continue to drop...