Friday, November 11, 2016

SMALL TIME CROOKS (2000)

When career criminal (and career idiot) Ray "The Brain" Winkler (Woody Allen) comes up with the idea to open up a cookie shop (fronted by his wife Tracey Ullman) near a bank and then tunnel into the bank's vault, he recruits some of his closest friends to help...unfortunately they're all as dumb as he is.  (Example: they wear their lighted miner helmets backwards because it "looks cool".)  Despite their collection of low IQ's they still end up extremely rich.  So now with their new money, Tracey wants to learn how to fit in with high society.  She hires art dealer Hugh Grant to educate her Pygmalion-style, but he has his sights set on stealing Tracey (and her money) away from Woody.  At the same time, Woody misses his old life of crime, so he hatches a plan to steal a one-of-a-kind necklace at a society party.

SMALL TIME CROOKS is a great film that I've enjoyed it many times over the years.  I love it when Woody does light-hearted comedies like this.  From beginning to end, the story moves along so quickly, with so many great small touches, that you can't take it all in with just one viewing.  Excellent cast, wonderful script, very natural camerawork that fits the story perfectly, quick pace...SMALL TIME CROOKS is simply a joy to watch.  Highly recommended.

Would make a perfect double-feature with THE CURSE OF THE JADE SCORPION.

HIGH SIERRA (1941)