03 August 2010

Woody Allen: Day Twenty-Four

Small Time Crooks, Woody Allen's 2000 film, brings back memories of his earlier comedies. His later films have become more dramatic and philosophical but Allen replaces upper-class Manhattan with working-class New Jersey in this film. It is not his best comedy and it kind of lags at the end but it is often hilarious and features a fantastic performance from Tracey Ullman. Small Time Crooks is a highlight in the middle of 6 very sub par films.

Ray (Woody Allen), an ex-con, has developed a scheme to rob a bank with his two partners, Denny (Michael Rapaport) and Tommy (Tony Darrow). His plan is to lease a restaurant down the street from the bank and to tunnel underground to rob it. Ray's wife Frenchy (Ullman) will provide their cover by selling cookies from the restaurant. The bank robbery is a complete failure but the cookie business makes them millionaires. The film's twist finds Ray hating their new fortune and Frenchy trying to become part of the elite. She meets a man named David (Hugh Grant) to train her. Unbeknownst to Frenchy David is just using her naivete to gain her trust and access to her money.

Small Time Crooks is a funny film but it seems mediocre for a Woody Allen film. Tracey Ullman is absolutely fantastic which is no surprise because she has a wonderful talent for comedy. I would rather see the positives because his next film is undeniably his worst.

Next up: The Curse of the Jade Scorpion.

My list:
1. Hannah and Her Sisters
2. Everyone Says I Love You
3. Manhattan
4. Bullets over Broadway
5. Annie Hall
6. Crimes and Misdemeanors
7. Radio Days
8. Husbands & Wives
9. Another Woman
10. The Purple Rose of Cairo
11. Broadway Danny Rose
12. Love and Death
13. Sweet and Lowdown
14. Mighty Aphrodite
15. Interiors
16. Sleeper
17. Manhattan Murder Mystery
18. Zelig
19. Stardust Memories
20. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask)
21. Take the Money and Run
22. Deconstructing Harry
23. Oedipus Wrecks from New York Stories
24. Bananas
25. Small Time Crooks
26. What's Up, Tiger Lily?
27. Alice
28. Shadows and Fog
29. Don't Drink the Water
30. September
31. A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy
32. Celebrity

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