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Small Time Crooks [DVD] 
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DVD Special Features:
Subtitles: English for the hard of hearing
Extras: Theatrical Trailer
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
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Top Customer Reviews
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!
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.
"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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of his best movies. You will never forget it after you see it. Mainly about the new-rich fenomena.Published 16 months ago by Goncalo rocha
absolutely hilarious, and another great Woody Allen classic. I don't know how he does it, but this is up there with the best. Loved it.Published on 12 Dec. 2013 by sandy
I love Woody Allen and this is one of my favourites. It is both very funny and touching at the same time. One of his best.Published on 29 Oct. 2013 by Jane Sweeney
Small Time Crooks has a very good plot from beginning to end. It is however funniest in its first 30 mins where there is a larger cast that includes Jon Lovitz. Read morePublished on 2 Dec. 2012 by j.r
Maybe not classic Woody but it is very funny and i`ve seen it three times.Published on 23 Jun. 2012 by Mr. E. A. Dobson
Not in woodys top 5 best films but it has its moments. This seems to be a film of two halfs the first half sees to have all the laughs and the second half is more serious. Read morePublished on 23 Mar. 2010 by Stephen