Review: Analyze That

Posted by: Dean Kish  //  December 6, 2002 @ 11:59am

Filed under: Reviews

In 1999, a little mob-comedy called Analyze This spawned a new look at mob bosses, their crew, and the life behind the scenes. Hot on the heels of the new HBO mafia-series The Sopranos, Analyze This paved new territory and gave comedian Billy Crystal his first hit since 1994's City Slickers 2. It also gave Robert DeNiro a whole new lease on his career and proved he could succeed in comedies. Analyze This was revolutionary for its time and it also had the instant success of The Sopranos to cash in on. Now some three years later, can this formula cash in again?

The sequel picks up with Robert DeNiro's character, crime lord Paul Vitti, in prison. Paul becomes petrified when he is the target of a hit by someone within the prison. Paul seeks out his old shrink, Dr. Ben Sobol (Billy Crystal), who is trying to deal with the sudden death of his father. Dr. Sobol journeys out to see Paul in prison only to find out that his patient has turned into a West Side Story-singing loony bird. What has happened to his patient? Who is trying to kill Paul?

Eventually, Sobol gets Paul released into his custody and all hell breaks loose, as Paul's world clashes with Sobol's. Mayhem ensues and through all the chaos, can one doctor and one patient help each other through their difficult times? (Hmmm... laughing yet?)

When I went into Analyze That, I could barely remember the first film. I remember one or maybe two scenes from the previous movie. One of the scenes was where DeNiro's character shoots his pillow in therapy and another involving a hotel suite and an attempted assassination (or something like that).

Not remembering the first one, I found myself a little lost, and it was hard to like the characters since the film really doesn't allow you to remember the characters of Paul and Dr. Sobel. Who were these guys and did we really grow fond of them in the first film?

In the early stages of the film, I found myself rolling my eyes as a lot of the script seemed to hinge on outrageous sex dialogue and over-acted musical numbers. Have musical sequences become Hollywood's new laugh track? Heaven forbid this occurs with the new big-budget film-musical, Chicago. Once I became familiar and less shocked with DeNiro's mobster, I found myself cracking a smile and even screaming with laughter during the classic sushi scene.

I found I did like moments of the film and there were some rather funny moments, but I found for the most part I had seen a lot of it before. When I look at comedies, I try to criticize them on how much I howl, and if the laughs eventually win me over. I didn't find that with Analyze That. I do recommend this film for fans of the first one or for people who love mob movies. I think that those people will enjoy the comedy presented here. Then again maybe I analyzed this concept to death. (2.5 of 5) So Says the Soothsayer.

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