Analyze That (2002)

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When Ben purchased Analyze This, he ended up buying a double pack that also included Analyze That. For some reason it was cheaper to buy both, even though he only wanted the first movie. Then he tried to argue that Analyze That is really just a special features disc, so we could skip it.Watching it I kind of see his point, but we’re already “breaking” rules by skipping Christmas movies and watching RoboCop early so I figure we just need to suck it up and watch the stinkers. They aren’t going to watch themselves.

Really, this is just more of the same, but with a bigger dose of Robert DeNiro. Don’t get me wrong– he’s very funny. But this movie nearly renders Billy Crystal’s role unnecessary. He feels shoehorned in to most scenes, or is there to play the straight guy against DeNiro. It’s a reversal of their roles in Analyze This, but the result is boring and predictable. I mean, Crystal had more to do in America’s Sweethearts, and that movie was awful.

Also, if I have to hear one more guy sing songs from West Side Story for comic effect I’ll roll my eyes really,really hard (screaming seems a bit over the top). We get it: hearing serious actors sing “I Feel Pretty” is funny. But I think we can all agree that we’re not going to get any better than Nicholson & Sandler and DeNiro, so let’s not even try. OK?

Rating: C-

When the first film made a lot of money, of course the studio higher ups wanted to fast track a sequel to the surprise hit of 1999, Analyze This. They also wanted another chance to use a comedic Robert DeNiro, something the original seemed to just stumble upon. Who knew DeNiro would be such a good comedic actor? The script definitely gives DeNiro more funny moments than the original. He returns as Paul Vitti, a New York mob boss in prison. When he is approaching his parole, somebody tries to murder him in his prison cell which leads him to seemingly have a nervous breakdown. His old psychiatrist Ben Sobel (Billy Crystal) is called in and the police leave Vitti in his custody while he performs therapy on DeNiro. This is obviously an inconvenience to everyone living in the Sobel household, especially Sobel’s new wife (Lisa Kudrow). The only person who seems to be enjoying his stay is Sobel’s teenage son, who begins to idolise Vitti and his gangster ways. As the film goes on, Sobel must find out if Vitti has gone back to his gangster roots, or is trying to be a law abiding citizen.

The movie lets DeNiro have a lot of fun. While he is living with Sobel, Vitti attempts to integrate himself back into society. Watching a gangster do mundane jobs like sell cars or be a waiter is incredibly funny, and DeNiro does a good job. He seems like he is having a lot fun doing comedies as he’d spent most of his career playing tough guys in gritty dramas, I think a film like this could have been very much a relief for him and you feel like he is enjoying this newfound talent for comedy.

Eventually Vitti finds himself on the set of a mob tv show where he is hired as an advisor to make sure the show is realistic. This is clearly a shout out to The Sopranos. In between the first and second movies being released, The Sopranos had become very popular and the first movie had clearly been somewhat of an inspiration for the HBO show about gangsters.

This movie is definitely DeNiro’s show. He had done Meet the Parents between Analyze This and Analyze That. He was becoming more well known as a comedic actor rather than the gritty dramatic legend we all knew him as. The only downside here is that Billy Crystal is a bit wasted. I felt like he was only there to be a straight man to DeNiro’s character. If he was played by someone else, I probably wouldn’t have noticed. When you have someone like Billy Crystal at your disposal, you need to take advantage of it. I feel like director Harold Ramis wasted him a little bit. In the first movie, DeNiro and Crystal worked well together, but in this sequel, it seems that DeNiro’s spotlight is far larger than Billy Crystals. Which is a shame.

This film is good. The first half is especially funny. After that, it does become quite monotonous and formulaic. The first half of this film has arguably some funnier moments than the first, but it’s let down by a boring second half. The film knows they have a talented comedic actor in DeNiro and it takes full advantage of his talents. Although like in the first one, and most of his comedic roles to date, he is really just playing a caricature of his older gangster films like Goodfellas. He is very funny though. I enjoyed this movie, it just didn’t have the originality of the first film.

Rating: C

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