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"SMALL TIME CROOKS"
(2000) (Woody Allen, Tracey Ullman) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate None Heavy Minor Minor
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor None None None Mild
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Mild Minor Mild Mild None


QUICK TAKE:
Comedy: Hoping to better their lives by robbing a bank, some smalltime criminals accidentally end up making a better life for themselves and must then face the related repercussions of their new lifestyle.
PLOT:
Ray (WOODY ALLEN) and Francis "Frenchy" Winkler (TRACEY ULLMAN) have been married for twenty-five years, but Ray's not satisfied with his life. An ex-con and current dishwasher, he and his two buddies, Denny (MICHAEL RAPAPORT) and Tommy (TONY DARROW), have hatched a plan to better their lives. Needing to contribute six thousand dollars apiece, they plan to lease an empty pizza store and then dig a tunnel from it, underneath the adjoining store, and then up into the vault of the neighboring bank.

Frenchy, a manicurist by trade, isn't crazy about the plan. That's not only because that's a big chunk of their savings, but also because she knows that neither Ray nor his buddies are the brightest bulbs on the planet. When the trio learns that someone else has already leased the space, however, they hope they can sweet talk their way into getting the space. Unbeknownst to them, a fellow ex-con and habitual arsonist, Benny (JON LOVITZ), has already nabbed the spot.

Not surprisingly, after hearing their plan, Benny immediately wants in on the action. To cover for the noise they'll be making in the basement, they decide to have Frenchy sell cookies upstairs as a front. As they bungle their way through their efforts of tunneling to the bank, Frenchy's cookie business suddenly becomes the hot spot in town, eventually becoming so busy that they hire Frenchy's dimwitted cousin, May (ELAINE MAY), to help out.

A year later, the men have dropped all plans of crime as Frenchy's cookies have become so popular, she and Ray have gone corporate and become extremely wealthy executives. Although Ray is uncomfortable with their new trappings and lifestyle and wants to return to the way they were, Frenchy couldn't be happier, although she realizes she's not refined enough to fit in with the upper crust.

Thus, she hires David (HUGH GRANT), a suave/debonair art dealer who agrees to teach her about all of the better and more refined things in life. As such, and with the couple growing apart, it's only a matter of time before Ray's criminal longings have him plotting another heist.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're fans of Woody Allen films and/or someone in the cast, it's not very likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • WOODY ALLEN plays a smalltime criminal and ex-con who hatches and then tries executing a plan to rob a bank by tunneling underneath another store to get to it. Once rich, he quickly finds himself longing for his old ways and thus plots another heist.
  • TRACEY ULLMAN plays his wife, with whom he nearly constantly always argues, who longs to be accepted by the upper crust once she and Ray find themselves wealthy.
  • HUGH GRANT plays an art dealer who latches onto Frenchy and agrees to educate her about the better things in life simply because he thinks he can get his hands on her money.
  • ELAINE MAY plays Frenchy's dimwitted cousin who helps out at their store and then befriends Ray once he and Frenchy start going their separate ways.
  • MICHAEL RAPAPORT, JON LOVITZ AND TONY DARROW play Ray's dimwitted buddies and criminal cohorts who assist him in trying to tunnel their way into a bank to steal several million dollars.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this PG rated comedy. Profanity is what earns the film its rating, but doesn't even include any "s" words, although various colorful phrases are also present, as is one non-graphic, sexually related comment. Many of the characters portrayed in the film are criminals and thus they related bad attitudes (although everything is played for laughs), while other characters also have varying degrees of bad attitudes (including a bickering married couple toward each other).

    Beyond that and various scenes depicting consumption of alcohol, however, the film's remaining categories have little or nothing in the way of major objectionable content. Nonetheless, and as always, should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to take a closer look at our detailed content listings.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • An offhand comment is made something along the lines of dreams featuring cookies and opium.
  • Tommy drinks a beer.
  • Ray has a beer.
  • People have wine with dinner and Frenchy later comments that she was a little drunk from the wine.
  • Ray has a beer, while Frenchy and David have wine.
  • We see some beer on the table as Ray, his partners and May play poker.
  • Frenchy tastes various wines as David teaches her about them.
  • People drink wine at a reception, including Frenchy and David.
  • When some of her advisors give Frenchy some bad news, she says that she needs some wine. One of them advises whiskey instead, and so she has some.
  • People have wine/champagne at a party.
  • Frenchy has a drink.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • None.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Although it's all played in a comic sense, Ray, French and his pals all agree to attempt to rob a bank (and we hear that Ray has previously spent time in "the joint").
  • Frenchy makes fun of Denny and Tommy's intelligence (or lack thereof).
  • Ray repeatedly but half-heartedly threatens Frenchy with violence: "I'm going to slam your head," etc. (although she seems to know this will never happen and reacts accordingly).
  • Benny is apparently an arsonist who collects insurance money after doing his handiwork (we only hear about this, however, and don't see any related activity).
  • Instead of arresting Ray and his pals after they tunnel into a clothing store, a cop wants in on their cookie deal.
  • Some viewers may take offense at some of the men calling/referring to women as "broads;" Ray joking that if he could find his high school principal, he'd put a contract out on him (since he's rich now and could afford to do so); Ray telling a joke about the Polish carpool that would always meet at work; and May commenting on playing "Indian poker" (involving holding a card at the back of one's head like a feather).
  • Some snobs badmouth Frenchy and Ray behind their backs at their party.
  • David sets his designs on Frenchy because she's wealthy, but later dumps her when it turns out she doesn't have any money (and asks her how she could be "so stupid" to lose the money she had promised him).
  • Ray decides and then tries to steal someone's valuable necklace and replace it with a forged one.
  • We learn that some accountants stole all of the company's money.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • It's possible that some viewers may find a scene where Ray tries to get into a safe and substitute some fake jewelry and avoid being detected as tense in a comic sense.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Dynamite: Bought by Ray and his cohorts, but never used.
  • Handgun: Briefly aimed by a cop at the four criminals.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Jeez," "Shut up," "Jerk(s)," "Broad" (woman), "Nuts" (crazy), "Screwed up," "You're such an ignoramus," "Idiot," "Screw up" (noun) and "Loser."
  • Although the odds of kids imitating this particular action probably aren't that high, Ray and his pals try to rob a bank by tunneling underneath it.
  • The same holds true for Benny who states he's going to burn down the store, and that he burns down everything (which is how he put his kids through school).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 12 hells, 3 asses, 7 uses of "For God's sakes," 6 of "Oh my God," 5 of "Jesus," 4 of "Oh Jesus," 2 each of "My God" and "Oh God" and 1 use of "God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • A reporter asks Denny if he was the one who decided to advertise their cookies in Hustler magazine. Denny says that he was, explaining that the reason was "that if a guy's starring a naked piece of tail" he's going to start salivating because that's human nature. Then, if he turns the page and sees one of their ads, he'll think it was because of the ad.
  • Frenchy shows some cleavage in a few outfits she wears.
  • A classic painting shows a reclined nude woman who shows full frontal nudity.
  • May shows some cleavage.
  • SMOKING
  • Tommy briefly smokes a cigar while playing poker.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Ray and Frenchy bicker throughout much of the film (in good times and bad) and eventually, but only temporarily, split up.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Using crime as a ways of trying to get ahead in life.
  • Ray repeatedly but half-heartedly threatens Frenchy with violence: "I'm going to slam your head," etc. (although she seems to know this will never happen and reacts accordingly).
  • VIOLENCE
  • None.



  • Reviewed May 11, 2000 / Posted May 19, 2000

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