"Marital Mistakes and Makeups"
What You Need To Know:
Shot with handheld cameras, NEWLYWEDS follows the style of a fictional documentary where characters talk to the camera. The cast is appealing and some of the dialogue is clean and funny, but otherwise the movie is filled with abundant obscenities. It also contains some lewd sexual elements, so NEWLYWEDS is ultimately too crude.
(RoRo, B, C, LLL, V, S, N, AA, MM) Strong Romantic worldview, mitigated by some moral elements and redemptive elements of forgiveness, but relatively godless otherwise; at least 150 obscenities (including many “f” words) and 13 profanities, including several strong ones; man with baseball bat chases another man out of his apartment; no depicted sex but scene of interrupted fornication, crude references to oral sex, promiscuous woman fails to seduce now married ex-boyfriend, and discussions about promiscuity and sex within marriage, but some of the dialogue is criticized as being inappropriate; upper male nudity; alcohol use and some drunkenness; no smoking; and, married couple has conflicts with their two respective sisters-in-law, female protagonist’s sister and her husband get divorced and husband immediately pursues a young female singer but is rebuked by his former brother-in-law who also drops him as a client, supporting married couple say they married only because woman got pregnant while they dated and that they never knew each other well enough to be a good couple, male protagonist has a promiscuous sister who causes him problems in his own marriage but she vows to amend her ways, and he gives her $2,000 to return to Los Angeles and change her life for the better.
Actor/director Edward Burns’ latest movie as a low-budget writer-director is NEWLYWEDS, which chronicles the lives of fictional Irish Catholics in New York City. This somewhat entertaining movie has a strong Romantic worldview, tempered by some positive messages about marriage and forgiveness, but it’s filled with strong foul language and some crude sexual situations and dialogue. Shot for just $9,000 in 12 days in Manhattan, the movie continues Burns’ reputation as an Irish Woody Allen as it follows the humorous romantic entanglements and personal travails of two couples. The main couple is barely into their second marriages but trying to learn from their past mistakes, and the other couple is breaking up after 18 years of apparent bliss turns out to be false.
The main couple is a physical trainer named Buzzy (played by Edward Burns) and a bartender Linda (Kerry Bishe), for whom this is their second marriage. Buzzy believes the key to their successful union is that they have very separate lives in which they aren’t together so much that they fight or get annoyed with one another. Meanwhile, Linda’s sister Marsha (Marsha Dietlein) has been married to Max (MaxBaker) for 18 seemingly happy years that are about to collapse into divorce demands. Lighting the fire that explodes everyone’s relationships is Buzzy’s sister Katie (Caitlin Fitzgerald) who barrels into town while secretly attempting to seduce and reconcile with an ex boyfriend. As the sister’s plans go astray, she upends the lives of all around her with her incredibly selfish, immature, and promiscuous behavior. This forces each of the two couples to ultimately decide if they’re meant to last, or to fall apart.
Shot with handheld cameras, NEWLYWEDS follows the amusing style of NBC’s sitcom THE OFFICE, which pretends to be a documentary about the characters’ lives where they reveal their deeper thoughts directly to an unseen cameraman. This gives the movie an extra visual kick. Burns openly admits he tries to create movies that chronicle the lives of Irish-Americans in New York in the same highly dialogue-driven manner as Woody Allen depicts the Jewish community in New York. Burns’ cast in NEWLYWEDS is appealing and some of the dialogue is funny, especially when it doesn’t have any lewd or obscene content.
There’s too much foul language and crude dialogue, however, including some sexual references. Even so, there are also discussions about proper behavior and what’s the right thing to do as the characters discuss their problems and the problems of their relatives. For instance, toward the end, the male protagonist’s promiscuous sister vows to change her ways, so he forgives her and sends her back to Los Angeles with $2,000 to help her straighten out her life. Eventually, the main married couple decides that honesty and open communication are important in making a marriage work. The positive resolutions aren’t enough, however, to outweigh the abundant foul language heard in NEWLYWEDS.
Of course, the missing equation in all this is a reliance on God through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who can heal all broken or struggling relationships. As Jesus says in Matthew 19, what God has joined, let no man tear asunder.