A director is forced to work with his ex-wife, who left him for the boss of the studio bankrolling his new film. But the night before the first day of shooting, he develops a case of psychosomatic blindness.
Suffering from writer's block and eagerly awaiting his writing award, Harry Block remembers events from his past and scenes from his best-selling books as characters, real and fictional, come back to haunt him.
Dishwasher and small-fry criminal Ray hits on a plan with his partners in crime to re-open a local pizza place and dig through to the bank down the street. As his wife can't cook pizza but does great cookies, that's what they sell. While the no-hope tunnellers get lost underground, the cookie operation really takes off and the team find themselves rich business people. But the other local money isn't quite ready to accept them. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <email@example.com>
Closer to Old-School Woody in spirit, but not execution
"Small Time Crooks" is the latest movie from Woody Allen, and it will likely be seen by the same people who go see all of his other movie (myself included) but will likely not branch out far from there. It's funny, and Allen fans will enjoy it, but it's certainly not an outstanding comedy.
Allen plays Ray, a schlub living in New York who concocts a crazy scene to rob a bank. It involves a cookie store, a tunnel, and lots of drilling. It also stirs up one of the two out-and-out hilarious sequences in the movie.
After the digging sequence, the film takes an unexpected turn (which I will let you discover for yourself), and the section immediately following the "One Year Later" card is the best of the film. Sadly, the brilliant media satire and perfect lines are not repeated again in the film. for the remaining hour.
A lot of people have commented how this is Woody getting back to his roots. Certainly the film starts off like a lot of his early works, and the premise certainly shares a good deal with Take the Money and Run, but I would not put Small Time Crooks on the same level as that film, one of my favorite comedies. While it's certainly a lighter film than his later works, Allen just doesn't have the same bizarre gags and total disregard for reality that the early works had. That insane-genius-laughing-at-us-all energy is missing.
Still, the film looks great and the cast is especially good. I'm sorry we didn't get to see more of Michael Rappaport and John Lovitz, who sadly only appear in the first portion of the film.
Again, the movie isn't bad, it's just no Take the Money and Run. Recommended for Woody fans, but I wouldn't say expect the old master here, rather expect an older master doing his best to relive those early greats.
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