FBMR - Small Time Crooks
Film-Buff Movie Reviews


I was disappointed with this film. I expect better from writer/director Woody Allen. First of all, Allen has changed his glasses; his frames were not his “signature” black Buddy Holly frames. Secondly, most of the funny and more interesting scenes and characters only appear in the first half hour of the film, and then the characters never really show up again. They had potential, but never have a chance to develop. One of the only consistently funny parts of this movie is Allen himself playing his stereotypical character who fumbles for words and stumbles through life. It’s reminiscent of some of his earlier characters, the only problem is he lacks support in the latter part of the movie. The banter between him and Tracey Ullman, who plays his wife, Frenchie, is also pretty funny. Unfortunately, neither of these two elements can save this comedy.

Ray Winkler (Allen) is a crook who’s dream is to make a big score, big enough to retire and relocate to Florida. He has no other ambition in life. He and his gang of fools attempt to rob a bank, but always run into trouble and fail. When he finally does hit the jackpot he seems so disillusioned because he’s still in New York, and not in Florida. His wife, Frenchie (Ullman), wants to try to improve herself and learn to be “classy”, which proves difficult, until she meets David (Hugh Grant).

This movie was also frustrating to a certain degree because of all the stupid things some of these characters do. I was especially irritated by May (Elaine May, who plays the character extremely well), Frenchie’s moron of a cousin. I wanted to smack her every time she was on screen. The character ruined my film experience. I recommend this film for die-hard Woody Allen fans only, and only for his performance, and the first half hour of the the film.

IMDb - Small Time Crooks