This file was generated 2002-10-15 05:03 GMT. This movie's information hasn't changed since 2002-04-28.
Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> May 2000 >> Small Time Crooks
It's taken me almost half a year to see a movie released this year. Everything until now was either of no interest to me or left the theaters too quickly, but the thought of Woody Allen playing dumb appealed to me. Small Time Crooks plays like two movies. The first half is a wonderful caper movie with dimwitted New Yorkers trying to make a fortune by breaking into a bank. As luck would have it they get rich, though not how they originally planned. The back end of the film focuses on the effects of sudden wealth. After a choice cameo by real-life "60 Minutes" correspondent Steve Kroft, this half of the movie barely even tries for laughs, but is at least interestingly written. It wasn't entirely unpredictable, but it's still nice. Tracey Ullman and Woody Allen are certainly capable of carrying a movie, especially with the able assistance of Elaine May and Hugh Grant, but I would've liked to see more of Jon Lovitz and Tony Darrow.
Two of the great sources of laughter for me throughout Small Time Crooks were the set and costume design. Suzanne McCabe found some terrifically awful looks for Ullman and Allen. Having Allen at sixty-three in denim knee-length shorts is a great start, but putting Ullman in those flourescent stretch pants was hilarious. I'm somewhat ashamed to say that I actually liked some of the color schemes worn by Allen once he started wearing suits, although I could not abide by the ties. The set design in the first apartment is no big deal, but the outrageous over-the-top gaudiness in the second apartment was a wonder to behold. Production designer Santo Loquasto, a long-time Allen collaborator, and set decorator Jessica Lanier should be commended.