Small Time Crooks (2000) Woody Allen, Tracey Ullman, Elaine May, Elaine Stritch Movie Review

Small Time Crooks (2000)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Tracey Ullman and Woody Allen in Small Time Crooks (2000)


Career criminal Ray (Woody Allen) and his pals come up with a plan to rob a bank by leasing a nearby shop and digging a tunnel from it. To cover for this Ray's wife Frenchy (Tracey Ullman) will sell cookies from the shop. Whilst the bank job fails abysmally Frenchy's cookies end up making them millionaires. But with wealth things start to change as Frenchy hires an art dealer named David (Hugh Grant) to educate them in the finer things so they fit in with the upper class which their wealth has pushed them into.

I know I am in the minority but I just don't get the appeal of Woody Allen either as an actor or a director, it isn't that I dislike his stuff but I struggle to see what is so great about it either. This is certainly the case of "Small Time Crooks" which from what others have told me is most definitely not classic Woody. Here we have three things going on; we have a story with a few twists and turns, some simple comedy and a cast with a few familiar faces and other than the comedy being in the Woody Allen manner this could have been a movie made by anyone.

Now I can't really go in to the story too much because as I said it has some twists and turns so whilst the first part focuses on the bungled attempt to rob a bank by digging a tunnel whilst Frenchy's cookie business takes off it actually leads into another story which sees Ray and Frenchy's life changing when they become upper class and hire someone to train them. The story is okay but in truth nothing special with plenty of humour with much of it being in the realms of Woody Allen but for me that isn't necessarily a good thing as at times it feels like Allen has resorted to just mindless banter than actual comedy.

But anyway there is the third thing and that is the cast as always Woody Allen has attracted some famous faces to appear in his movie such as Jon Lovitz, Michael Rapaport and Hugh Grant. But for me it is Tracey Ullman who makes "Small Time Crooks" not only watchable but delivers most of the movies funnier lines and scenes.

What this all boils down to is that "Small Time Crooks" is not a bad movie but once again makes me wonder what everyone else sees in Woody Allen. In truth if it wasn't for Tracey Ullman I think I would have struggled with this.