Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. 75
    Dumb as they (allegedly) are, the characters in Small Time Crooks are smarter, edgier and more original than the dreary crowd in so many new comedies.
  2. 63
    Petty larceny - but Allen's fans won't want to miss this lowbrow caper.
  3. 80
    The Woodman has recovered his common touch. On him, it looks good.
  4. 50
    This thin, clichéd comedy of crime and social climbing contains some scattered laughs and whole lot of padding.
  5. The plot is lively and the dialogue packs many good laughs.
  6. For all its wispy fun, Small Time Crooks still tilts, with little-guy stubbornness, at windmills in Allen's mind.
  7. In this sweet, funny wisp of a movie, Mr. Allen shucks off his fabled angst and returns in spirit to those wide-eyed days of yesteryear, before Chekhov, Kafka and Ingmar Bergman invaded his creative imagination.
  8. 63
    Allen's most amiable, breeziest comedy in years.
  9. Allen's movies specialize in contemplating the notion that money can somehow remove vulgarity or produce gentility. Small Time Crooks may conclude quite conventionally that money can't buy you everything, but most of it flirts even more conventionally with the opposite premise.
  10. Handsome as all Allen films are, and it proceeds with the brisk, sophisticated air of throwaway confidence and lack of pretense that we expect from the contemporary master of grown-up comedy.
  11. A pleasant frolic, but fairly inconsequential in terms of the overall Allen output.
  12. Allen was out of his element in creating characters who feel like East Coast cousins of the Clampetts, and his dialogue has never been more banal or forced.
  13. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Breezy, enjoyable romp gratifyingly zigzags in directions that aren't apparent at the outset and features some intriguingly personal subtext for longtime Woody watchers.
  14. 67
    Ullman and May make something intermittently memorable of an otherwise minor film.
  15. Sunnier and sillier than most of Allen's recent work, makes its belly laughs heartwarming. It's a most winning movie about losers.
  16. 80
    Allen's funniest, least sour outing in nearly a decade is a small movie with a tidy payoff. The movie gives vulgarity a good name.
  17. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Though this is a tough movie to dislike, it plays more like a second draft than a final product.
  18. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    It's the kind of movie you can settle into, secure in the expectation that you can steal from it more than a little vintage Allen fun.
  19. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    Sour and mostly feeble, with a depressingly curdled worldview. It bears no resemblance to Allen's surreal, open-ended comedies.
  20. 70
    Diverting and provides a satisfying alternative to teen-oriented summer comedy.
  21. A delicious comedy that starts out promisingly as a pleasant gag comedy but then turns unexpectedly into a bright social satire.
  22. 80
    The latest from Woody Allen is an enjoyable trifle -- but Tracey Ullman and Elaine May walk off with the picture.
  23. 54
    Only Elaine May shines, in a weird and wonderful turn. Her loopy character has such a struck-by-lightning demeanor that she's always delightfully off in her own comic orbit even in the tritest of scenes.
  24. Allen has avoided his usual stable of jokes and one-liners, and the result is a film that feels and looks fresh from the maestro of urban angst.
  25. Stooge-filled farce offers low laughs but lacks a point.
  26. Reviewed by: Robert Horton
    Feels like a first draft, in need of toning, pruning, and a little old-fashioned discipline. As an outline, the picture is full of possibilities.
  27. 63
    Can be recommended even if just for the presence of Elaine May, who turns in her most charmingly ditzy performance since "A New Leaf."
  28. Reviewed by: Tom Keogh
    This is vintage Allen, his powers intact after a string of increasingly cranky, creaky films in the last few years.
  29. 70
    Allen produces a lovable, relaxed--although not uproarious--comedy.
  30. 50
    It's a comedic caper with a slap-your-head-in-kookiness that ends up making Allen, at this age, seem like an old man desperately still trying to ham it up at the dinner table.
  31. Reviewed by: Marc Caro
    It's a sweet little snack of a movie that leaves the heavier courses for some other outing.
  32. Reviewed by: Steven Mikulan
    Small Time Crooks is definitely minor Allen that, nevertheless, offers a welcome riposte to the current national obsession with getting rich.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 27 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 6
  2. Negative: 2 out of 6
  1. Dec 8, 2010
    Anyone that knows anything about Woody Allen will realize that SMALL TIME CROOKS is a return to what Woody Allen does best... MAKE PEOPLE LAUGH! All that give this movie a bad review probably like Woody's attempts to find ARTISTIC CINEMA! Well Woody is best served by doing what made him famous, ridiculously funny comedy. By the way if you think PURPLE ROSE is a Woody Allen hit, you have to answer the door (reality is trying to talk to you). Since ANNIE HALL won best picture, it was and is the ONLY COMEDY to do such. Hence, nobody gives comedy its due. By the way it is MUCH harder to make people laugh than it is to make them cry! Keep making me laugh Woody!! Small Time Crooks is a GEM! Full Review »
  2. Sep 1, 2011
    While it drags in parts and has a slim margin between hits and misses, Small Time Crooks does a number of funny (and unexpected) plot developments, and a nice role reversal for Allen's character. Full Review »