Cheeky ‘Snatch’ wrings laughs from its men of steal

“Snatch” on Crackle pops. The new series, based on Guy Ritchie’s 2000 movie, is a whole lot of fun, a stylish heist story with an irreverent sense of humor. I’m not saying it’s the next TV show you absolutely have to watch or else you will be out of the conversational loop for the next few years and basically dead to me; but, like Amazon’s “Sneaky Pete,” it’s breezy, easily consumed entertainment that won’t insult your intelligence.

The show, whose first season drops Thursday on Crackle, is only loosely connected to the movie. The story line is original, the characters are new and young, and the central cast of underworld London criminals includes a few powerful women and a few romantic sparks. But the cheeky tone and spirit of the show are mostly in keeping with the movie, with the characters tripping all over one another as a series of bungled thefts and at least one rigged boxing match unfold.


The action begins with three struggling hustlers whose every caper somehow goes wrong. They’re like the Three Stooges, forever botching plans, but with better clothes, much better hair, and sometimes-indecipherable British accents. Luke Pasqualino is the more sensible Albie Hill, who is trying to make a name for himself on the street. His obstacle to becoming his own man: his incarcerated father, Vic Hill, played wryly by Dougray Scott, who keeps Skyping him from prison with job instructions. A lot of the comedy in the first two episodes comes out of Vic’s prison life; he is treated like a king inside, with at least one other convict serving as his butler.

Rupert Grint from the Harry Potter movies is Albie’s pal Charlie Cavendish, who is from an odd aristocratic family that’s going off the rails as his father grows pot while his mother sleeps with the plumber. He wants to be authentically street, but he’s a little too goofy and thick to pass. And Lucien Laviscount is Billy Ayers, a womanizing boxer who tries to follow Albie’s instructions when he’s in the ring.

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The three find themselves in a debt that seems to grow bigger each time they try to shrink it. By the time they stumble into a stash of gold bullion, after passing encounters with envelopes of cash and bags of diamonds, they’re way out of their league as targets of a number of gangsters. Ed Westwick, who was Chuck Bass on “Gossip Girl,” plays Sonny Castillo, a sick and twisted club owner with a taste for cocaine and big guns. Sonny is from Cuba and then Miami, and Westwick’s Spanish accent will take “Gossip Girl” fans some getting used to. His girlfriend, Lotti (Phoebe Dynevor), is as tough and scrappy as he is, and she may be about to jump camps to work with Albie and his friends.

There’s at least one other crime lord on the trail of the young guys, or at least the gold. His name is Bob Fink, and he’s played by Marc Warren, a good British actor (“Hustle,” “State of Play,” “Band of Brothers”) who, alas, once got stuck in one of network TV’s worst subplots (he was Kalinda’s husband on “The Good Wife”). Bob Fink and Sonny Castillo have a lot of goons around, so when the guns go off, they’re usually the ones who fall.

These days, TV adaptations of movies are common and often disappointing. For every “Westworld,” which expands on its source, there are three or four “Uncle Bucks” or “Takens” that seem to have been made solely to re-use the brand name. “Snatch” is a worthy effort in its own right. It won’t steal your heart, perhaps, but it will probably steal your attention.



Starring: Luke Pasqualino, Rupert Grint, Ed Westwick, Lucien Laviscount, Phoebe Dyvenor, Juliet Aubrey, Dougray Scott, Marc Warren

On: Crackle, 10-episode first season available on Thursday

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at

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