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Small Time Crooks

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Small Time Crooks

Starring: Woody Allen, Tracey Ullman
Director: Woody Allen
Rated: PG
RunTime: 95 Minutes
Release Date: May 2000
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Tony Darrow, Hugh Grant, Jon Lovitz, Elaine May, Michael Rapaport, Elaine Stritch, George Grizzard

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Review by Susan Granger
4 stars out of 4

The less you know about this romantic comedy gem, the more you'll enjoy the continuous surprises that await you. Woody Allen, who wrote, directed and stars in the clever caper realizes that - which is why he keeps a veil of secrecy around all his projects. In this Manhattan-based story, Woody plays an ex-con dishwasher with Tracey Ullman as Frances "Frenchy" Fox, his stripper-turned-manicurist wife. They concoct a half-baked, get-rich-quick scheme involving a bank robbery that, as Woody puts it, leaves them rolling in dough...but not the kind they had in mind. Allen's theme revolves around the old adage: Be careful what you wish for - you may just get it. And his sly, observant script has more witty, literate dialogue than you can hope to hear in a movie these days. There's no doubt that Woody Allen is a comic genius, but his knack for casting just the right actor in the right role is second to none. This film marks Ullman's third teaming with Allen; there's a rumor that her role was originally offered to Barbra Streisand - but Tracey's terrific. Jon Lovitz, Michael Rapaport and Tony Darrow provide slapstick comedy as Allen's three stooges. Hugh Grant lends an aura of sophistication as an unscrupulous art dealer whose "lessons in life" aren't easily forgotten and Elaine May almost steals the picture as an endearing dim-witted cousin. Production designer Santo Loquasto and costumer Suzanne McCabe set a new standard for nouveau riche taste. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Small Time Crooks" is a delicious, delectable 10, one of the best comedies to come our way in years. "Small Time Crooks" is filled with uproarious, contagious laughs - it's big time fun.

Copyright 2000 Susan Granger

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