Newlyweds | Film review
Edward Burns borrows from Woody Allen (again).
“So many relationships have so many unnecessary complications,” says Buzzy (Edward Burns) to his new wife, Katie (Caitlin Fitzgerald), in the opening minutes of Newlyweds. Within the context of the movie, Buzzy is talking about the appeal of his relationship with Katie, who is placid and undemanding, as well as foreshadowing the unannounced arrival of his crazy sister, Linda (Kerry Bishé), who is anything but. Beyond the borders of the frame, writer-director Burns might be stating his moviemaking philosophy. The Brothers McMullen filmmaker shot Newlyweds for a staggeringly low $9,000, roaming the streets of Lower Manhattan with a three-man crew and a consumer-grade digital camera. Filmmaking doesn’t get much less complicated than that.
Whether working with a $9,000 or $900,000 budget, Burns’s aesthetic—talky, urbane, set primarily in impossibly luxurious New York apartments—remains entirely indebted to Woody Allen. Newlyweds contains some provocative truths about marriage and the male mind, and Burns and Fitzgerald make a snappy onscreen couple; their strolling conversation about the ideal birthday gift for a man (oral sex, says Buzzy) is perfectly observed micro-indie bliss. But the outlandish dramas Linda and the rest of Buzzy and Katie’s needy relatives force upon our charming couple feel manufactured, markedly at odds with Burns’s documentary-style visuals. So many romantic comedies have unnecessary complications, too.