Review by Jason Morrison
What could the producers of Analyze This possibly have been thinking
when they named the movie? Analyze This? It sounds like some Leslie
Nielsen-starring, straight-to-video, throw-away comedy.
Luckily it's not. The movie stars Billy Crystal as psychiatrist Ben
Sobel. Ben's dad overshadows him, his kid is a bit sarcastic, and his
patients are too pathetic. But he's about marry the beautiful Laura
MacNamara (Lisa Kudrow) and take a vacation. That's when he bumps into a
car driven by a couple maffia gangsters.
One of those gangsters is Paul Vitti (Robert De Niro), head of an
important family. Vitti has been feeling a bit off lately -- he just can't
seem to kill in cold blood like he used to, he's having trouble in the
sack, and even starts crying for no reason at all. As an important meeting
approaches he realizes he needs help, so he goes to Sobel for counseling.
Needless to say Sobel has problems with the arrangement. Vitti is used to
be obeyed immediately and not being asked questions, hardly good attitudes
when going to a shrink. Sobel has to call off his other appointments, skip
vacation, and his wedding is ruined, twice.
But as the two get used to the way each other operate, some progress is
made. As Sobel reaches the root of Vitti's anxiety attacks, the meeting
approaches, the FBI go after Vitti and Vitti is ordered to kill Sobel-he
knows too much.
Oh, yeah, and it's a comedy. Not a laugh-till-your-face-hurts comedy, but
much more entertaining and light hearted than your average Godfather.
The writers poke fun at the gangster movie genre throughout, but never
specifically enough to step outside the story line. It's a good story,
too, with some good lines here and there as well.
Crystal and De Niro make a good pair, each completely natural in their
roles and often quite sarcastic towards each other. De Niro gets the best
lines, though he underplays them, and Crystal's best lines are always
followed by apologies, which makes sense given the situation.
What is there to say about De Niro as a gangster? He's really, really
good at this role. Even adding the little twist of a gangster losing his
touch doesn't seem like much of a challenge to him. If they made a musical
starring him as a Martian gangster, he'd probably carry the movie. It was
weird, though seeing him cry. Not poorly done, but unexpected.
Crystal is also in familiar territory. His character is emotionally very
similar to the one in City Slickers and a few of his other films. But
he's got it down. Thankfully he doesn't spend too much of the film
complaining about how unbelievable the situation is. No kidding it's
unbelievable, it's a movie.
I think special kudos should go to Joe Viterelli who plays Vitti's right
hand man Jelly. His character, though not too bright, was sharp-Viterelli
made it seem natural and not another movie cliché.
That name still bothers me. Analyze This? It sounds like My
Thank goodness it plays much, much better.
(Out of five)