Analyze This (1999) / Comedy-Thriller
MPAA Rated: R for language, a scene of sexuality, and some violence
Running Time: 103 min.
Cast: Robert De Niro, Billy Crystal, Lisa Kudrow, Joe Viterelli, Chazz Palminteri, Molly Shannon, Tony Bennett (cameo)
Director: Harold Ramis
Screenplay: Peter Tolan, Harold Ramis, Kenneth Lonnergan
Review published March 12, 1999
Robert De Niro (Ronin, Jackie Brown) is Paul Vitti, a New York mob boss with problems. He suffers from anxiety attacks, a lack of nerves, and even impotence. He seeks help from a psychiatrist named Ben Sobol (Crystal, Deconstructing Harry), who is reluctant to take on a crime boss as a client, but they "make him an offer he can't refuse". The intrusion of Vitti on Sobol's life causes many problems, including the possible dissolution of his marriage-to-be. Vitti gets even more desperate when another local thug (Palminteri, A Night at the Roxbury) wants to kill him to take over his territory.
Contrived and predictable as Analyze This may be, once it gets going, it is truly laugh-out-loud funny. De Niro has a good time spoofing all of his tough guy roles, and Crystal comes up with some memorably hilarious off-the-cuff lines. Director Harold Ramis (Groundhog Day, Caddyshack) does an excellent job never losing the comedic tone of the film, despite a rather large number of killings and gunfights, and terrific supporting players bolster an already impressive core cast.
Analyze This loses some steam in the final third, but by that time you're probably too sore in the belly from laughing your ass off.
-- Followed by Analyze That (2002)
©1999 Vince Leo