New York Times - 05/26/2000
"...The jokes are funny...the screwball comic tone [is] impeccably sustained..."
Rolling Stone - 06/22/2000
"...Elaine May is sensationally fine and funny..."
Entertainment Weekly - 06/16/2000
Premiere - 01/01/2001
"...A breezy, easy-on-the-brain rental....Inspired supporting performances..." -- 3 out of 5 stars - A Satisfying Rental
Los Angeles Times - 05/19/2000
"...Delicious, giddy fun....SMALL TIME CROOKS is handsome as all Allen films are, and it proceeds with the brisk, sophisticated air of throwaway confidence and lack of pretense that we expect from the contemporary master of grown-up comedy..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 05/19/2000
"...The characters in SMALL TIME CROOKS are smarter, edgier and more original than the dreary crowd in so many new comedies..."
Uncut - 08/01/2001
"Allen's best for years, and painfully funny."
Woody Allen returns to his slapstick days with this comic romp, which centers on a small-time hood, Ray Winkler, who just can't catch a break. It's as if Virgil Starkwell (Allen's hysterically incompetent criminal mastermind from TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN) has finally gotten out of prison and is still up to his old scheming. Against his wife Frenchy's (Tracey Ullman) better judgment, Ray puts together a ragtag group of misfits, including a scene-stealing Elaine May, and immerses them in a crazy plot to rob a bank. But everything gets upended when their front, a cookie store, takes off, thrusting the Winklers into the upper echelons of New York's high society.
SMALL TIME CROOKS looks like no other Allen film; gone are the black-and-white shades of Manhattan, replaced instead by the ridiculously loud shirts Ray wears and the perfectly garish furniture and artwork Frenchy accumulates. Even the Allen soundtrack, usually exclusively jazz, big band, and Dixieland standards, features "Tequila" by the Champs as an underlying theme. What stands out most of all, however, is the offbeat, charming relationship between Ray and Frenchy, two ne'er-do-wells who get to spend a little time at the top.
Woody Allen returns to his farcical roots for this lighthearted caper comedy. Ray Winkler (Woody Allen) is an ex-con who continues to search for the ultimate payday. When he conceives of a foolproof bank robbery, he must first convince his skeptical wife, Frenchy (Tracey Ullman), to help him out. Opening up a cookie shop two stores down from the bank, Ray and his cronies start to dig a tunnel into the bank, where they will sneak in one night and clean out the vault. Things get complicated when the cookie shop actually catches on and becomes a hit in the neighborhood.
Originally released in theatres May 19, 2000 (National)
Hugh Grant was asked to participate in the film via a fax from Woody Allen.
TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN was a major comedic influence of Jon Lovitz's.
This was Fei Zhao's second film as DP for Woody Allen; the first was SWEET AND LOWDOWN.
Allen never goes back and watches his old films; in fact, even though many critics compared SMALL TIME CROOKS to TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN, Allen claims to not have seen the older film since 1968.
Tracey Ullman has compared her character (Frenchy) to an updated version of Alice Kramden.
Elaine May was voted Best Supporting Actress for her work by the National Society of Film Critics.
Tracey Ullman received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture--Musical or Comedy.