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Paths Cross Again In "Purple Violets"

It happens a lot in New York City. You're at a restaurant, eating with friends, enjoying free time, when you suddenly catch a glimpse of someone from your past — an enemy, an old boss, an ex. New York City is ripe for situations like this and it's about time somebody base a movie on it.

Ed Burns' (director writer of "The Brothers McMullen," and "Sidewalks of New York") takes a stab at it in his latest film, "Purple Violets," which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival this week.

The dramedy, which was written, directed and produced by Burns, a native New Yorker who also stars in the film, is about four college friends (Selma Blair, Debra Messing, Patrick Wilson and Burns) who are reunited after they randomly dine at the same swanky Manhattan restaurant.

The quartet was inseparable 12 years ago when they were couples. Kate (Messing) and Murphy (Burns) — the volatile couple who always argued and whose relationship ended with a bang. Brian (Wilson) and Patti (Blair), both authors now, parted ways after college but never really explained to each other why.

Photos: Tribeca Film Festival
Kate is insufferably still pissed off at Burn's character because of an alleged tryst with another woman. Now, as a part of his Alcoholics Anonymous, Murphy feels it necessary to apologize for the pain that he caused, but she won't give him the time of day.

It's funny for a while to watch Messing consistently spew words like "douche bag" and "prick," she calls her ex so many names you wonder what he ever saw in her in the first place.

Though Blair and Wilson dated once, of course now things are much more complex. Patti is seven-years married (to a funkily dressed British chef played by Donal Logue) and Brian is dating an ecstasy-prone twenty-something (actress Elizabeth Reaser, who plays the live-in amnesia patient from "Grey's Anatomy"). But Patti's marriage is crumbling and it's clear after she and Brian reconnect that they've both got that one-that-got-away-syndrome.

"Purple Violets," a sweet tale of old friends who reunite, is worth a look as long as you know you probably won't be surprised by how things play out.

Like all of Burns' films, "Purple Violets" is shot in New York and it's always interesting to see the unique spots his camera lens captures, which New Yorkers pass everyday but perhaps never stopped to notice.

Somehow a simple scene in which an envelope is dropped into a mailbox inspires you to track down the exact cross street. Burns' love of New York shines through yet again.
By Amy Bonawitz