Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. The plot is lively and the dialogue packs many good laughs.
  2. 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.
  3. Sunnier and sillier than most of Allen's recent work, makes its belly laughs heartwarming. It's a most winning movie about losers.
  4. A delicious comedy that starts out promisingly as a pleasant gag comedy but then turns unexpectedly into a bright social satire.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 63
    Allen's most amiable, breeziest comedy in years.
  8. 63
    Petty larceny - but Allen's fans won't want to miss this lowbrow caper.
  9. 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."
  10. 50
    This thin, clichéd comedy of crime and social climbing contains some scattered laughs and whole lot of padding.
  11. A pleasant frolic, but fairly inconsequential in terms of the overall Allen output.
  12. For all its wispy fun, Small Time Crooks still tilts, with little-guy stubbornness, at windmills in Allen's mind.
  13. Reviewed by: Tom Keogh
    This is vintage Allen, his powers intact after a string of increasingly cranky, creaky films in the last few years.
  14. 80
    The latest from Woody Allen is an enjoyable trifle -- but Tracey Ullman and Elaine May walk off with the picture.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 70
    Diverting and provides a satisfying alternative to teen-oriented summer comedy.
  20. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    Sour and mostly feeble, with a depressingly curdled worldview. It bears no resemblance to Allen's surreal, open-ended comedies.
  21. Stooge-filled farce offers low laughs but lacks a point.
  22. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Though this is a tough movie to dislike, it plays more like a second draft than a final product.
  23. Reviewed by: Marc Caro
    It's a sweet little snack of a movie that leaves the heavier courses for some other outing.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 67
    Ullman and May make something intermittently memorable of an otherwise minor film.
  27. 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.
  28. 80
    The Woodman has recovered his common touch. On him, it looks good.
  29. 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.
  30. 70
    Allen produces a lovable, relaxed--although not uproarious--comedy.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 30 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 PEOPLEAnyone 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) plotWhile 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 »