Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Small Time Crooks - Woody Allen

Woody Allen's movies are nice and short and never seem to go beyond 90 minutes. So when the heat got to me today I decided to play this movie and watch it as long as it takes me to get bored. Full credit to Woody Allen that I never turned it off and sat through it without a break.

'Small time crooks' has Woody Allen playing the role of Ray who is a - small time crook. He thinks he was known as the 'Brain' when in prison - a term that we come to know was sarcastically used on him - and schemes many robberies. His latest is to hire a front as a cookie shop where his wife or girlfriend Frenchy (Tracey Ullman) makes and sells cookies while he and his gang of crooks try to tunnel into a bank nearby. The gang specialises in mucking up everything and they end up tunneling into a cloth store where they are held by a police officer. Now, the police officer makes a deal with them - he will let them go if they give him a franchise for their Sunset Cookies which are now a rage. People are waiting for half an hour, so much so that Frenchy gets her slightly retarded cousin Mae to help her. Anyway, it turns out that the cookie business franchise makes them overnight millionaires.

Frenchy wants to be upper class and hires David (Hugh Grant) to train her in the finer things of life. Woody hates this finer things business and they drift apart. Woody drifts to Mae, and Frenchy drifts towards David who is now looking at her to finance his deals. While on a trip to Europe, Frenchy is informed that her accountants have swindled her out of everything and she has become bankrupt. Woody meanwhile is trying to rob a priceless jewel with Mae's help, by replacing the original with a glass one and while replacing it, brings back the glass one! Frenchy and Woody meet, down in the dumps, and plan to start all over again. Woody proposes that his newly acquired diamond necklace will help, Frenchy takes one look and tells him its glass. And once again it is Frenchy who saves the day - he has cracked David's safe and got back a valuable lighter she had gifted David sometime ago.

Frenchy is brilliant, I really liked her performance. Hugh Grant fits the part perfectly and Woody is his bumbling self. Mae is a classic - where did they find her? Some scenes are hilarious. The part when the gang starts tunneling, the one when Woody tells his partner that he thought up this scheme as the 'Brain' and the partner tells him that it was supposed to be sarcastic, the interview by a television channel with the top management of Sunset Cookies who are clueless, Mae and her responses especially at the party, Woody and Mae's date over television and Pepsi. Good lighthearted fun that makes the world seem so much more bearable what with such crooks around. You don't have to be perfect you know!

No comments: