SMALL TIME CROOKS

Woody Takes a Bite out of Crime

Content -1
Quality
None Light Moderate Heavy
Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: May 19, 2000

Starring: Woody Allen, Tracy Ullman, Hugh Grant, Elaine May, & Jon Lovitz

Genre: Screwball Comedy

Audience: Older teenagers & adults

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 94 minutes

Distributor: DreamWorks

Director: Woody Allen

Executive Producer: J. E. Beaucaire

Producer: Jean Doumanian

Writer: Woody Allen

Address Comments To:

Steven Spielberg & Jeffrey Katzenberg
Dreamworks SKG
100 Universal Plaza
Bungalow 5121
Universal City, CA 91608-1085
(818) 733-7000

Content:

(B, Pa, LLL, V, A, D, MM) Mild moral worldview with pagan elements, some of which are rebuked; 12 obscenities, 14 mild profanities & 7 strong profanities, mostly exclamatory; very mild slapstick violence such as man bursts water pipe which floods basement & policeman pulls gun on bank thieves; no sex; no nudity; alcohol use; smoking; and, bank heist comically fails, con man seeks older woman for her wealth, comical burglary sequence, married couple separates & flirts with the idea of adultery but comes back together, & woman is victim of fraud.

Summary:

SMALL TIME CROOKS is Woody Allen’s newest goofy comedy, wherein he plays an incompetent ex-con who convinces his wife to open a cookie shop so he and his gang of misfits can tunnel into a bank vault. SMALL TIME CROOKS is a rather amusing comedy that extols some positive values but includes some strong profanities.

Review:

Woody Allen movies are an acquired taste to most people, especially since the sordid revelations about his private life. In his newest one, SMALL TIME CROOKS, he returns to his roots of goofy screwball comedies, but adds a bickering but endearing romance between himself and British television comedienne Tracy Ullman.

In the story, the two comic actors play a married couple who bicker a lot but clearly still care for one another. Allen stars as Ray, a middle-aged ex-con who can’t hold a job. Ullman plays Ray’s wife Frenchy. When Ray hatches a scheme to tunnel into a bank vault, Frenchy reluctantly agrees to open up a cookie shop as a front for the tunneling. Her cookie recipes turn out to be far more successful than the bank heist, so they and their co-conspirators become millionaires when they open a cookie franchise business.

Frenchy has delusions of grandeur, however. She wants to become part of high society. To her dismay, she discovers that it takes education and refined tastes to accomplish that, two things which both she and Ray lack. Ray reluctantly agrees to hire a young aristocratic art collector, played by Hugh Grant, to educate them about art, wine, fine cuisine, and culture. When Ray shows even less interest in becoming a highbrow, the couple begins to break apart until some funny plot twists bring them back together.

SMALL TIME CROOKS is a rather amusing comedy that is much better than Allen’s recent movies, including such awful dogs as DECONSTRUCTING HARRY. Since the new movie mildly extols the value of married life and teaches that crime doesn’t really pay, it’s also one of Allen’s more moral works. Even so, Allen seems too old for the part, despite the inspired bits of his comic talent on display. SMALL TIME CROOKS also includes seven unnecessary strong profanities and a significant amount of other mild foul language, so it’s not quite a wholesome family movie. MOVIEGUIDE® urges caution, therefore.

In Brief:

SMALL TIME CROOKS is Woody Allen’s newest goofy comedy. In the story, he plays an incompetent ex-con who convinces his wife to open a cookie shop so he and his gang of misfits can tunnel into a bank vault. Comedienne Tracy Ullman plays Allen’s wife, whose cookie recipes are way more successful than the gang’s goofy heist. They all become millionaires by franchising the cookies, but the wife’s desire to join high society leads to marital trouble. More funny complications ensue when an aristocratic con man played by Hugh Grant enters the picture.

SMALL TIME CROOKS is a rather amusing comedy that is much better than Allen’s recent movies, including such awful dogs as DECONSTRUCTING HARRY. Since the new movie mildly extols the value of married life and teaches that crime doesn’t really pay, it’s also one of Allen’s more moral works. Even so, Allen seems too old for the part, despite the inspired bits of his comic talent on display. SMALL TIME CROOKS also includes seven unnecessary strong profanities and a significant amount of other mild foul language, so it’s not quite a wholesome family movie. MOVIEGUIDE® urges caution, therefore