Ed Burns strikes again with Newlyweds, a movie about Katie (Caitlin FitzGerald) and Buzzy (Burns), a pair of recently hitched New Yorkers and all the baggage that comes along with that.
Buzzy and Katie are starting over; they’re recently married to one another, both having been married once before to tedious exes. We meet the newlyweds as they’re having brunch with Katie’s sister Marsha and her brother-in-law Max (Marsha Dietlein Bennett & Max Baker), who’ve been married for 18 very long years. Buzzy and Katie think they’ve got it all figured out and Marsha and Max don’t know what happened, where or when. Burns does what he’s known best for here and showcases the varied perspectives that exist amongst us all regarding relationships. Marriage specifically takes center stage in this flick.
Linda (Kerry Bishé), Buzzy’s half-sister, mixes things up when she pops in from L.A. virtually unannounced and completely unprepared for life and a Manhattan winter without a coat and a place to crash. Linda is in town to woo back Miles, the guy who asked her to marry him ten months ago. Miles is married now, but that won’t stop her, she knows she’ll use her feminine wiles to get Miles back sooner rather than later. Linda imposes on Katie and Buzzy while she’s in New York on her mission.
Marsha and Max aren’t in love and by the looks of it, never really were. It seems like they may have genuinely liked one another when they were first together, but a rushed marriage provoked by an unplanned pregnancy resulted in the most annoying sister-in-law I’ve ever seen portrayed on film. You’ll roll your eyes at Marsha within the first 20 minutes of meeting her and by the end of the movie you’ll want to put your hands around her neck and squeeze, if only for a few brief, glorious moments. Marsha can push buttons you didn’t even know you had so you can imagine why her husband can’t stand her and wants out—now.
Katie and Buzzy are stuck in the middle of this comedic and often times, dramatic crap storm which makes getting used to one another as man and wife more of a challenge than they had anticipated.
Ed Burns has done well here. The comedy is smart and sometimes understated, which is almost always a winning combination. Juxtaposing that with fluid and relevant drama rounds out the film nicely making for an entertaining hour and a half. My only complaint would be the same as one of John DeFore’s in his review for the Hollywood Reporter:
The movie suffers from its haphazard use of the mock-doc idiom. Characters often address the camera as if speaking to interviewers, sometimes interrupting the drama in a way suggesting that all the action is being shot by a doc crew. But many of the film's scenes are of intimate moments that would never happen in front of documentarians, and Burns's indifference to this distinction makes his use of the faddish technique look like lazy storytelling.
...Indeed; however, unlike DeFore, I actually liked this movie. It was funny and sometimes a little thought provoking. Granted, this probably won’t make too many people’s top-ten lists, but it’s definitely worth a go if you enjoy drama with a side of solid laughs. The characters are well developed and you’ll probably identify with at least one of their points of view.
Marsha Dietlein Bennett is the standout in this film for her pitch-perfect rendition of annoying. Ed Burns didn’t disappoint this time around so cheers to him. Watch this if you thought The Brothers McMullen was any good.
Newlyweds (2011) – B-
B- = If you’re already out and looking for a good movie time, watch this at your local indie theater. I’m not telling you to go out of your way for a viewing. I guess you could maybe stream this instead if that would be easier. Either way, it’s decent times and you won’t be mad that I encouraged you to sit through it.