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Overall Rating
3.7

Awesome: 15.52%
Worth A Look58.62%
Average: 10.34%
Pretty Bad: 11.21%
Total Crap: 4.31%

6 reviews, 80 user ratings


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Analyze This
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by Rob Gonsalves

"This was funnier before De Niro overdid the whole comedy thing..."
4 stars

When Robert De Niro has a good time (which isn't nearly often enough), he spreads the fun around. In 'Analyze This,' the belly-laugh comedy directed by Harold Ramis, De Niro looks as relaxed as he does in any Martin Scorsese film.

De Niro's character here -- Paul Vitti, an anxiety-stricken mobster in need of therapy -- is a synthesis of several of his other characters; he knows that, and we know that, and we're all in on the joke, yet De Niro's genius is that he doesn't let on that he knows. He plays Paul more or less straight; he's funny in the same way he's funny in isolated moments in most Scorsese movies (some of us still quote from his great Casino blueberry muffin tirade), yet here he also has an ordinary nebbish to bounce off of. In all, it's De Niro's freshest work since a similar turn in Midnight Run.

Analyze This is fluff, and probably inconceivable without De Niro, but it's been delivered by people who know what they're doing. Harold Ramis has become a solid actor's director -- he got four great performances out of Michael Keaton in Multiplicity -- and he hasn't lost the scrappy comedic instinct that distinguished his debut, Caddyshack. The script, which is credited to Ramis, Ken Lonegan and Peter Tolan, isn't especially original; recent projects with the same premise include the National Lampoon cable movie The Don's Analyst and the HBO series The Sopranos -- both of which explore the absurdity of a mobster in therapy. What Analyze This has is De Niro as a mobster in therapy, and Billy Crystal as his shrink. It's a one-joke movie, but it's an awfully good joke, told here by experts.

As the neurotic shrink terrified of his patient, Woody Allen might have been more on-the-nose, or even De Niro's Midnight Run costar Charles Grodin. But Crystal is an old hand at scoring meek laughs off of hardened icons -- his rapport with Jack Palance was the only reason to see City Slickers -- and he stays in character as Dr. Ben Sobol, bearded and soft in the middle, worried about his impending marriage (to Lisa Kudrow) and secretly resentful of his famous shrink dad. As the shrink's and the patient's lives intersect, they both fall apart and put each other back together, each doing things he never imagined doing. Crystal is at his funniest when bluffing at a climactic meeting of the families; introduced as Paul's consigliere, Ben draws on the same gangster-movie mythology that everyone else in the room (including Paul's scowling rival, played by Chazz Palminteri) follows to the letter.

There's sterling support throughout -- Kudrow, with her distinctive wobbly timing; Joe Viterelli as Paul's seen-it-all right-hand-man; Palminteri, playing his role even straighter than De Niro and getting his laughs from our Bronx Tale associations. But you can't really talk about Analyze This without talking about De Niro, who's not only funnier but also more moving than he's been in a while. Paul's first crying-jag scene is hilarious; in a later tearful scene with more serious undertones, I was afraid people in the audience would be conditioned to laugh at Paul's tears anyway. Nobody did. It's a fully rounded performance, not a novelty.

Harold Ramis is a good idea man and good with actors, but he usually lets things slip in the last act; Analyze This sort of sputters to its pat conclusion, leaving some things unresolved. It could be that Ramis has so much fun with his movies that he doesn't want them to end; he should take a page from Palminteri's character and have someone look up "closure" in the dictionary for him. But if he can't sustain his inventiveness to the end, at least he has more going on in the bulk of his movies than your average Ivan Reitman comedy or teen comedy.

At its best, this is a gangster comedy to put alongside "Wise Guys" and "Married to the Mob" (and light years ahead of "Mafia!") -- a comedy, like the best gangster dramas, that's more about attitude and temperament than about whacking people.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1239&reviewer=416
originally posted: 12/30/06 12:10:02
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User Comments

7/30/14 islacwuooaz USA 4 stars
4/08/13 PAUL SHORTT SLICK, SMART SATISFYING COMEDY WITH A GREAT STAR PERFORMANCE 4 stars
8/25/10 art WHO NEED"S THIS? 1 stars
8/19/09 Jeff Wilder Quite funny even if the premise isn't as novel as it thinks it is. 4 stars
8/23/07 Quigley De Niro and Crystal have great chemistry. One of the funniest movies I've seen in a while 5 stars
11/04/06 bobby tired ethnic comedy vehicle. Crystal is typical shmatza and DeNiro stooped to this? 2 stars
3/16/04 mr mister funny as hell, when will they make one called "analyze deez nutz? 5 stars
2/20/04 Agent Sands A contemporary classic; hilarious, well-acted, well-written. 5 stars
3/22/03 Jack Sommersby Crystal is only bright spot in this pandering-down-to comedy. 2 stars
12/31/02 Jake entertaining and at times amusing but quite forgettable and mediocre 3 stars
11/21/02 chris why the hell are they making a sequal to this crap??!! 2 stars
4/27/02 Le Chemin Moins Suivi Good cans wasted in lame misfire. 2 stars
2/10/02 Andrew Carden Other Then Funny Performances, This Film Is Stupid and Quite Confusing. 2 stars
1/12/02 R.W. Welch Slightly absurdist take on the Mafia, works pretty well most of the time. 4 stars
9/11/01 Butterbean Drags at the end. DeNiro was cute as he bursts out crying while cursing out Crystal 3 stars
8/29/01 Gary Kudrow gets typecast, Billy does Woody & DeNiro cries. That's how unsubtle this satire is. 2 stars
4/04/01 radium I liked Joe Viterelli (Jelly) here. Absolutely ripping. 4 stars
4/02/01 The Bomb 69 Deniro was good as always but there were only a few laughs 3 stars
2/16/01 James Not a bad film. VERY interesting main premise, but not totally believable. 3 stars
11/20/00 Matthew Bartley Very funny although it seemed to drag a bit 4 stars
10/13/00 Jason decent...see it if there isn't a symphony in town 4 stars
10/13/00 Josh I must have missed the funny parts.... 3 stars
10/02/00 Madoc69 De Niro proves he can do comedy with the best of them 4 stars
9/26/00 Sully not funny at all...in fact - one of the most boring comedy's I've ever seen 1 stars
9/25/00 Muhammad not that good 3 stars
9/24/00 Jed Quite possibly the best thing for deniro/crystal. 5 stars
5/04/00 Elvisfan Very funny! 4 stars
4/10/00 Richard Wright Amusing, but having a more believable plot would have helped. Enjoyable, very forgettable. 3 stars
2/25/00 fire-n-ice funny!!! i laughed my ass off!!! 5 stars
12/30/99 hum simple but funny. see it on video when you want something funny but dont want to think 3 stars
9/27/99 Brian Most notable: DeNiro giving a deathly funny performance all while playing it very straight. 4 stars
8/03/99 dbx yawn. 1 stars
8/02/99 JimBob ok movie, but not the blockbuster it was made out to be 3 stars
7/29/99 PRM Loved it, Deniro great as always 4 stars
7/24/99 jvt One-note, nothing special 3 stars
7/23/99 Geoff Stang Sucked and thats it. funny in parts but as a whole it blew. 2 stars
6/28/99 Ricardo In spite of Billy Crystal it's pure fun but the idea could be better explored 4 stars
6/26/99 David It's real funny, what more do you want? 4 stars
6/13/99 Costars Serious solution to depression! 4 stars
5/29/99 Voyant For once, an original comedy. 5 stars
5/07/99 Diptherio I HATE THAT GIRL FROM FRIENDS 1 stars
4/30/99 Derf Ttoille Deniro, Crystal --- 'nough said! 5 stars
4/17/99 Dan Moore Deniro's crying scenes was one of the only times that I cringed at his acting ability. 4 stars
4/13/99 little jerry Entertaining flick.Loved DeNiro sobbing on the ground while Crystal went"Bang,Bang". 4 stars
4/12/99 Randall See it once, not as good with repeated viewing 4 stars
4/11/99 Alonzo For once Billy Crystal didn't get on my damned nerves, Deniro rocks! 4 stars
4/10/99 Bob Is there any way for me to get these 2 hours of my life back? 1 stars
4/10/99 Keith Calder I expected more from the man who brought us Animal House, Ghostbusters, and Groundhog Day. 4 stars
4/09/99 Meepos This was a good fun flick. Some iffy spots, but well worth seeing. 4 stars
4/08/99 Bob, Lord of Evil Sometimes movies only need to be fun to earn... 4 stars
4/07/99 Geoffrey T. Spaulding THIS MOVIE WAS FUCKING AWESOME! DENIRO IS FUNNY AS HELL! 5 stars
4/01/99 Blubberbot I didn't hate it! 3 stars
3/31/99 The Graduate Fun flick. De Niro's a great sport to indulge in self-parody like this. 4 stars
3/28/99 Robert Deniro I'm gonna wack all the fucks that didn't give my movie 5 stars 5 stars
3/27/99 Technorama Gangsters and comedy, now's that a good blend! 4 stars
3/26/99 Film Review Definately the funniest movie in years. 4 stars
3/24/99 jvt One note and ridiculous, but not without laughs 3 stars
3/21/99 Daddy Rich Funniest movie since Rush Hour. DeNiro is very funny and a hard ass at the same time. 5 stars
3/19/99 Daria Finally, a good Billy Crystal movie... 4 stars
3/18/99 Heather You will like this movie, yes you do! 5 stars
3/18/99 S.B. Glowinski DeNiro and Crystal are just hysterical together. I laughed till I wetted myself. 5 stars
3/18/99 Scott Stipe Really Good, Crystal and Dinero have good chemistry 5 stars
3/17/99 Mr Showbiz Crystal's back in good form. He wisely underplays and makes for a great foil. 4 stars
3/16/99 Alexis Worth a look 4 stars
3/15/99 Matt worth your 7 bucks 4 stars
3/14/99 Malbert Disappointing... 4 stars
3/13/99 Cool Thing De Niro's funniest role ever, Crystal's best for a while. 5 stars
3/13/99 Sarah Smith Funny movie 4 stars
3/12/99 Jeff HOUN funny movie, crystal/deniro very entertaining 4 stars
3/12/99 Chuckeye Funny without slipping into slapstick 4 stars
3/10/99 Ah Dooey If you're bored, then this is the type of movie you oughta see. The best! 4 stars
3/08/99 Kozmic Comedy mafia movies seem to always work.Crystal had to do the straight lines he isn't funny 4 stars
3/08/99 Josée Go see it if you're depressed. It's a really good therapy! 5 stars
3/06/99 Mike Rotch DeNiro and Crystal rule this movie! 4 stars
3/01/99 Ken This movie was GREAT. Loved the scene where Billy Crystal does the Dinero impression 5 stars
2/27/99 Viral Messiah De Niro's the best! He's awesome! 4 stars
2/12/99 Kirgo1 good moments 4 stars
2/03/99 The Dude So fucking great-Oh how I love this in the mornining 5 stars
2/03/99 Lindsay One of the funniest films I've ever seen. DeNiro and Crystal are fabulous! 5 stars
1/25/99 Dark Horizons Good Will Hunting meets Goodfellas on laughing gas 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  05-Mar-1999 (PG-13)

UK
  14-May-1999

Australia
  11-Mar-1999


Directed by
  Harold Ramis

Written by
  Ken Lonergan
  Phoef Sutton

Cast
  Robert De Niro
  Billy Crystal
  Lisa Kudrow
  Kyle Sabihy
  Molly Shannon
  Max Casella



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