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on 28 June 2017
Ray and his friends plan a bank heist and his wife Frenchy runs a cookie shop as cover business in the premises from where the tunnel to the bank vault will be dug. The bank heist doesn't go according to plan, which is probably not surprising given that you have Woody Allen playing Ray. Frenchy's cookie shop, on the other hand, is taking off like a rocket making her a millionairess over night. Feeling inadequate among the high snobiety of New York she is suddenly a member of, she hires lounge lizard com art dealer David as teacher. David is played by Hugh Grant.

How much you enjoy this amusing little number probably depends on how much you like the actors. Woody Allen is - well, Woody Allen. Personally, I prefer him behind the camera. But those who enjoy seeing him on the screen should enjoy this well enough. Tracey Ullman is sensational, she own the film and acts Woody Allen right off the screen. Hugh Grant is also great fun as the gold digging David. Chances are even those who don't usually go in for his films, will like him in this, even if it's just for the pleasure of seeing him play a thoroughly unlikable character.

Maybe not one of Woody Allen's best, but it'll keep you nicely entertained on a rainy afternoon.
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on 27 May 2014
love it arrived on time and as discribed
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 August 2015
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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VINE VOICEon 18 April 2011
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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on 5 October 2014
One of his best movies. You will never forget it after you see it. Mainly about the new-rich fenomena.
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on 7 September 2015
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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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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on 31 December 2014
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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on 20 March 2001
Small Time Crooks is played purely for laughs. The film is low budget and only has a small number of characters. Of those, only Tracey Ullman, Hugh Grant and Allen himself are recognised film stars.
Based on an early draft of his first film, Take the Money and Run, Allen and screen wife Ullman play an inpoverished couple who decide it would be a good idea to take the lease of an old flower shop situated near aa bank so they can tunnel into the vault and steal the money. Unfortunately their plan doesn't work out because the cookie shop they open proves to be an enormous success. New found wealth and old criminal ideals clash with entertaining consequences!
The story is very feelgood with some silly gags. Unfortunately the acting is let down not only by Hugh Grant who can't act menacing but dare I say it, Allen himself, who looks like he is overdoing it. A Allen classic though and a very enjoyable watch.
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on 12 December 2013
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.
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