George Grizzard

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Small Time Crooks Review


Excellent
Woody Allen always does his best work when he's both in front of and behind the camera. Small Time Crooks give us Woody once again as the star, once again making us laugh by proving that he and only he knows how to deliver the exact and peculiar cadence of his written humor.

An unabashed comedic fable, Small Time Crooks presents Woody as Ray Winkler, an ex-con living in a New York rathole and scraping by as a dishwasher. His wife Frenchy (Tracy Ullman) does nails by day, gives Ray a whole lot of lip by night. And when Ray comes home with a new "master plan" that promises to make them rich so they can retire to Florida (the dream to end all dreams in Small Time Crooks), Frenchy becomes a reluctant partner.

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Happy Birthday, Wanda June Review


Weak
Slaughterhouse-Five excepted, Kurt Vonnegut has had rotten luck with movie versions of his books. Happy Birthday, Wanda June is no exception: It's actually one of his few plays (or possibly his only play, memory fails me...), and it's pedestrian work at best. The story concerns a soldier (Rod Steiger) who returns home after seven years on the front, only to find his family's moved on. He gets a bit uppity about this, with presumably hilarious consequences. Too bad Steiger doesn't do comedy, the acting is stilted and terribly stagey, and overall this mess just collapses within the first 15 minutes.

Bachelor Party Review


Excellent
Tom Hanks' greatest role ever? It could just be Bachelor Party, which dared to introduce the thought of mule love in 1984. It's been said before by others -- but every time I run across this movie playing on late night cable, I end up watching to the end.

Small Time Crooks Review


Good

Woody Allen slides comfortably back into screwball mode directing himself as an incompetent bank robber dreaming up an absurdly arduous heist in "Small Time Crooks," his first movie in a long time unabashedly about nothing deeper than non-stop laughs.

Allen plays ex-con (and current dishwasher) Ray Winkler, the dubious mastermind behind a plan to rent an empty pizza joint two doors down from a Manhattan bank, then tunnel from the restaurant's basement to the bank's vault and make off with millions.

But Ray and his band of deficient ne'er-do-wells (Michael Rapaport, Jon Lovitz and Tony Darrow) need a front to occupy the shop while they burrow below. So he cajoles his manicurist wife Frenchy (Tracey Ullman) into opening a cookie shop in the empty storefront -- despite the fact that she thinks Ray's buddies, and their plans, are moronic.

Continue reading: Small Time Crooks Review

George Grizzard

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Small Time Crooks Movie Review

Small Time Crooks Movie Review

Woody Allen slides comfortably back into screwball mode directing himself as an incompetent bank robber...

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