Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Small Time Crooks

Small Time Crooks; Comedy, USA, 2000; D: Woody Allen, S: Woody Allen, Tracey Ullman, Hugh Grant, Elaine May, Michael Rapaport, Jon Lovitz

Ray plans to dig a tunnel from a store that he bought towards a safe in a nearby bank, which he plans to rob. While he and his three colleagues dig, his wife Frenchy leads a cookie shop which starts becoming more popular by the day. Ray and his associates get caught by a policemen who doesn't lock them up but opens a cookie factory called "Sunset" that becomes a huge success. Ray and Frenchy become rich but start to argue. She wants to join the upper class and thus hangs around with the snobby David by promising to finance his project. But the accountants trick them and they go bankrupt. Frenchy steals David's present and goes with Ray to Florida.

The viewers shouldn't be tricked by the poster and the title since comedy "Small Time Crooks" doesn't at all have any connections with the crime theme. Author Woody Allen for once lost his steam and context: the story starts as a possible heist comedy since the protagonist dig a tunnel to a bank, but after 25 minutes there's a sudden shift and we suddenly find them as they lead a cookie factory. From there on the rest of the story revolves only around the marital problems of the couple Ray and Frenchy (sympathetic Tracey Ullman who was nominated for a Golden Globe as best actress in a motion picture - musical or comedy) which causes a remorse for the sacked original fun plot of the heist at the beginning. It has some charm that it's hard for us to predict where the movie is going, and Allen somehow seems more relaxed, almost in 'cool' shape, whereas some jokes are funny, like when Jon Lovitz's character admits he financed his children by putting insurance on his stores which he then burned down, yet it's obvious this acceptable movie is just a flat, light comedy.


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