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Small Time Crooks [DVD] [2000]

3.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Woody Allen, Tracey Ullman, Hugh Grant, Carolyn Saxon, Michael Rapaport
  • Directors: Woody Allen
  • Writers: Woody Allen
  • Producers: Charles H. Joffe, Helen Robin, J.E. Beaucaire, Jack Rollins, Jean Doumanian
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: 2entertain
  • DVD Release Date: 21 Oct. 2002
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005AFKN
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,138 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

DVD Special Features:

16:9 Anamorphic
English Mono
Subtitles: English for the hard of hearing
Extras: Theatrical Trailer

From Amazon.co.uk

In Small Time Crooks, Woody Allen plays someone radically distinct from himself and his standard film persona--Ray, a failed safe-cracker who believes that his nickname "The Brain" is other than sarcastic. Increasingly, Allen is at his best when least present in his films, either by playing someone else or by having someone else play him. Good and funny as he is here, though, the film belongs to the two women stars: Tracey Ullmann is a force of nature as Frenchy, Ray's wife, who turns their cookie shop cover story for a bank job into a multi-million dollar enterprise and then decides that she wants to smarten up their image; Elaine May, meanwhile, is adorable as Frenchie's dim cousin May, one of the film's principal voices of good sense. Hugh Grant is a splendidly despicable gigolo and a large cast do impressive comic turns. Another of the film's stars, though, is the decor of Frenchie's apartment--there's a guilty pleasure in seeing just what vast wealth and bad taste can do. Small Time Crooks is lightweight Allen, but it is attractively good-humoured and intelligently plotted and not above the pleasures of pure slapstick--the sight gags when Ray and his gang are trying to tunnel into the bank are predictable but still funny.

On the DVD: The DVD has Dolby sound, which brings out attractively a score made up of forgotten pop songs from the late-Swing Era; the anamorphic widescreen picture gives surprising crispness to what is, most of the time, a chamber piece.--Roz Kaveney

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I'd purchased this DVD years ago - partly because it was so cheap at the time - and partly because it starred Hugh Grant whom I recall being quite into back then. However, though not a fan of Woody Allen, this is really a very funny film - but then most of the comedy in this movie is down to the great and multi-talented Tracey Ullman. (and I ain't just saying that because she is of British Stock)

This is an hilarious movie about a small time crook (Allen) getting a great idea of renting a Pizza store so he and some of his old cell mates can drill a tunnel underneath the shop into the nearest Bank to rob! The Pizza store becomes a 'cookie' store and is 'fronted' by 'Frenchy' (Ullman) and is an unexpected success!

I hadn't seen this for years and had only seen it the once when my Partner chose it out of our collection to watch this evening - he'd never seen it, and I'd forgotten whether it was any good or not. We both couldn't stop laughing! It just goes to prove once again that you don't need big budgets or sophisticated scripts in order to create a real fun, entertaining and feel-good movie!

FIVE STARS!
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By Call me Al TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 23 Aug. 2015
Format: DVD
Woody Allen’s goofy New York based comedy is a delightful lightweight farce full of sight gags, one-liners and a hilarious performance by Tracey Ullman as Frenchy Winkler, manicurist wife of Woody Allen’s nebbish Ray, a small-time crook and disgruntled dishwasher. A failed bank robbery attempt by Ray’s inept gang unexpectedly results in untold riches due to the success of their cookie shop front business. However, the Winkler marriage is put under pressure as Frenchy has societal aspirations which seem alien to her husband, who prefers to watch TV in his underwear rather than attend opera galas, and when smooth, slimy fortune-digging art dealer Hugh Grant enters their lives further complication arise. This is a fast-paced comedy with a sharp, witty screenplay delivered with consummate skill by all the actors involved. Elaine May’s performance as Frenchy’s dim cousin is particularly noteworthy, reminiscent of the comedy classics of the 1940s and 1950s. This is a superbly superficial movie whose only pretension is to try and provoke a laugh. It succeeds.
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Format: DVD
This is a pleasant enough little film but far from being one of WA's best (though far from being his worst - the dubious honour of that goes, IMHO, to "A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy"). It features Allen playing Ray, and Tracey Ullman as his wife Frenchy, the pair of titular STCs who buy an old bakery in order to tunnel into the bank vault next door. The heist fails but the bakery succeeds and makes them rich, catapulting them into the unfamiliar strata of the New York Haute Monde and setting up some unlikely but amusing comedy situations.
Maybe it's just me, but I felt this was Woody-by-numbers; there's a tired feel to the film, as if everyone involved was just going through the motions. Certainly it's a clever film - what WA film isn't? - but there's a leaden sort of quality to it that took the shine off the initial idea. One for the completist but not a priority for anyone else.
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Format: VHS Tape
When you learn that Woody Allen made a film with Tracy Ullman as his leading lady, then you say to yourself that you would like to see that movie. But when you are finished watching "Small Time Crooks" the two people you are probably going to be talking about the most are Elaine May and Elaine Stritch, who pretty much steal every single scene in which they appear in this film. However, this makes sense, because "Small Town Crooks" is a film where about five minutes in your figure out what the twist is going to be, but then you discover that is going to be the first of several twists that keep you spinning around from start to finish in this film. Allen's nebish this time around is Ray Winkler, a former crook who conceives of a self-admittedly "brilliant" plan for robbing a bank, which requires his wife, the former exotic dancer "Frenchy" Fox, to open up a cookie store as a front while Ray and his bumbling buddies attempt to execute his master plan so he and Frenchy can go to Florida and live the good life that has so long elluded them.
"Small Town Crooks" is certainly a break from Woody Allen's usual fare in recent years, but it ends up being a second tier comedy for the writer-director (operationally define as a film you watch once and determine that is enough). I also came to the conclusion, given Allen's tendency to work improvisationally, that all of the great lines spouted by Elaine Mae came from her own fertile comedic mind. This does not take away from the disappointment of not seeing Ullman finally go long on the big screen, but it is certainly a source of solace. I also would not have minded seeing more of Allen's version of the gang that couldn't do nuttin' right, made up of actors Michael Rapaport, Tony Darrow, and John Lovitz. Still, "Small Time Crooks" does provide another example of Allen in an optimistic mood, albeit on a minor level.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
With better direction and tighter editing this could have been one of his best.

The end seems rushed and contrived,and Tracy Ullman seems to be playing the part of someone caught up in a Woody Allen film,rather than playing a role.

Woody Allen does appear to be getting squeakier as he gets older,or am I imagining this ?

It reminded me of an updated Take the Money and Run,which with the benefit of almost 50 years hindsight is no classic.
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