Analyze That - 3.5/5 Stars
Reviewed by: John Ulmer
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Director: Harold Ramis
Written by: Harold Ramis, Peter Tolan
Starring: Robert De Niro, Billy Crystal, Lisa Kudrow
MPAA Classification: R (pervasive strong language, some comic violence, brief sexuality)
"Analyze That" is proof the critics can be wrong. Which probably means you shouldn't be listening to me, either. But you are, oh well. I guess I'll have to review the movie, now.
The Boss and The Shrink are back in therapy: Paul Vitti (Robert De Niro) has been locked up in Sing-Sing for 850 days. Ben Sobel (Billy Crystal) has just lost his father. That's when he gets the call from Vitti. Vitti gives him the low-down: Someone is trying to kill Vitti in jail. Sobel hangs up, Vitti gets mad, so he fakes crazy, and Sobel gets called in (since he is Vitti's psychiatrist). Sobel believes Vitti is cuckoo in the slammer, as he sees him singing tunes from "West Side Story" (one of the funniest parts in the film). So Vitti is released into the custody of Ben Sobel. But on the ride to Sobel's house, Vitti snaps out of it, only to reveal that he is not crazy, but, in fact, quite well. Now Vitti must start a new life and get a real job - that involves working "from 9 to 5!" - and find out who is trying to kill him...and why.
Perhaps I am mistaken, but "Analyze That" is funnier than "Analyze This." Maybe it's just me, but I found it quite funny. I didn't think it was a "rip-off" sequel, there for "no artistic reason." Sure, it's a sequel. Of course it's not going to be an Oscar-winner for originality; I don't ask for that in a comedy. Honestly, can you think of any sequel (other than the rare "Godfather Part II" film) that is as good as the original in terms of reasons for being there? All I know is that I think "Analyze That" had some very funny moments. Take, for instance, the scenes where Vitti is trying to get a new job. He becomes a car salesman for a day, and leads around a couple, showing them a nice car. "Look at that trunk - you could fit three bodies in there!" he says. When they say they're going to think about it: "What's there to think about? You've been busting my b@lls for the last hour over this thing, asking me all these stupid questions, taking it for a test drive...so why don't you buy it?"
Scenes like these are hilarious. And while there are somewhat long sequences without any laughs, the laugh-out-loud scenes more than make up for those lacking.
The only thing about this film that makes me drop the rating a notch is the execution of the last half hour. Just like the first movie, they set up a ridiculous "action" ending, that isn't action at all. Its ending is overlong and goes way too long without any laughs.
But that is the only thing I didn't like about the movie. De Niro and Crystal have a real chemistry, even more so here than in the first film. De Niro steals the scenes he is in, and Crystal steals the scenes he is in, and when they are both on screen, you're not sure who to look at.
I find Robert De Niro's latest journeys into comedy quite funny. He made a few comedies here and there in the past, but in the last three years he's coughed out some funny movies. "Analyze This," "Meet the Parents," "Analyze That," and to a certain degree (it was okay), "Showtime."
Perhaps I am confused. Maybe I need to see the first again. But having seen the original about twice, and "Analyze That" once, I can honestly say that I laughed more in "Analyze That" than I did watching "Analyze This." And if that's not a good sequel, I don't know what is.
Here's to "Analyze This, That, and the Other Thing"!
Copyright, 2003, John Ulmer, used with permission
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