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Newlyweds is a 2011 comedy/drama film written and directed by Edward Burns.
Director Edward Burns recently revealed on Twitter an in-depth, fiscal analysis of his latest feature, "Shooting budget: 5k for actors, 2k insurance, 2k food and drink. 9k in the can."
It has been over fifteen years since Burns' shoestring-budgeted Sundance hit The Brothers McMullen was awarded the Grand Jury prize for best in show, and in the nearly twenty year interim, the Long Island-bred, Irish-Catholic has endured his share of career ups and downs. Flirting with movie stardom in the early aughts (15 Minutes, Life or Something Like It), Burns has candidly remarked, "You get three chances in Hollywood" -- the last being the crime caper, Confidence -- and if nothing breaks through...they give up. While Burns's top billing quickly disappeared from movie posters hanging at your local multiplex, his reputation as a promising directorial talent was similarly called into question; follow-up features received middling critical and commercial success. Approbation was scarce. Nevertheless, the man is nothing if not determined. And although Burns's tenth effort doesn't drastically deviate from his familiar themes or aesthetic -- New Yorkers walking and talking about familial or marital distress -- Newlyweds feels at once nostalgically comforting and vibrantly present, as it offers perhaps the closest antidote we are going to find for the sorely-missed adult Manhattan romances that once populated movie houses and pervaded cinematic culture.
From the very beginning, Burns gets the ball rolling and pulls no punches. Recent newlyweds Buzzy (Burns) and Katie (Caitlin Fitzgerald) have been enjoying the spoils of love in its earliest euphoria. Perhaps it has something to do with their impetuous elopement. Nevertheless Buzzy and Katie are not teenagers engaging in star-crossed romance nor are they escaping the clutches of Mommy and Daddy; they are instead pragmatic adults with a defined criterion for the perfect marriage. Trust is paramount. Already a divorcee, Katie married young and rejects the conventions of 'feminine neediness.' She spends her long workday managing a profitable restaurant, so by the time she returns home to her Tribeca loft, Buzzy is already waiting, a bottle of red in hand. What's to argue over? A fine Cabernet and a little discussion to top off the day, followed by the inevitable bed sheet tussle. Sounds like a Manhattan marriage built to last.
However the unexpected arrival of Buddy's sister Linda (Kerry Bishe) throws the newlyweds' complacency for a loop. Her bags yet unpacked, Linda decides to hit the town. She has arrived with purpose but at a crossroads: the blonde, L.A. waif has traveled some three thousand miles to reignite a relationship with a prior lover (Johny Solo) -- only to find her ex has settled into an unalterable life of monogamy. And furthermore, the triangular living arrangement at Buzzy and Katie's Tribeca residence, which at first appeared accommodating, suddenly turns into a battleground for warring females. And Buzzy is left to pick up the pieces.
Newlyweds isn't some self-produced exercise to have beautiful women fawning for Burns's affection. In fact, the film plays like a labor of love, a call to rally the creative troops. Cobbling together Newlyweds in twelve shooting days -- after a development period of three months -- the director has found (or rather reverted to) a process much like his first success; and the result proves as effective as ever. Devoid of caricature and contrivance, the collaborative Newlyweds is full of genuine wit and honesty, organically grown by an ensemble and exacted through Burns's directorial diplomacy. Okay, so he's not Woody Allen. That's setting the bar a bit too high. But for Burns, he's never been better.