Analyze That

Analyze That

***1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Settle in for the Bill & Bob Show. They're back and they're better.

Last time, in Analyze This, Robert De Niro played a Mafia don in need of psychiatric help and Billy Crystal (aka Dr Sobel) was a dad-dominated suburban shrink, wasting his life listening to rich housewives banging on about their boring lives.

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Now things have changed. Paul Vitti's locked up in Sing Sing and Sobel's dad has died. During the funeral service, Doc gets a call on his mobile phone from Vitti. "Someone's trying to kill me," he growls. "Get me outta here." How he manages this is ingenious. Let us say, it involves West Side Story.

The script packs a lot into an hour-and-a-half, maybe too much. The double act is in sparkling form, with Crystal giving as good as he gets and De Niro doing his crying-like-a-baby routine. The one-liners are snappy, the situations volatile and the comic opportunities richly rewarded.

There are problems, however. Lisa Kudrow, as Mrs Doc, has a terrible time. She is supposed to be the dominant wife, infuriated by the arrival of a notorious crime boss in her home. She doesn't have the personality to pull it off and simply appears as a grumpy female in need of a charm transplant.

The plot ties itself in knots, eventually, and the ending is an embarrassment. There are power struggles within the Family, open warfare with another gang, the possible heist of gold bullion from a security truck and an ongoing TV crime series, in which Aussie actor Anthony La Paglia imitates De Niro as a Mafia boss. All these connect to the central theme of an apologetic little man being given responsibility by the prison authorities for the behaviour of a dangerous criminal.

There is a catchphrase, linking the two Analyzes. Vitti looks quizzically at the Doc and then his face cracks into a broad grin and he points his finger into Sobel's face and says: "You, you, you're good; you're better than good."

It's true. They both are.

Reviewed on: 26 Feb 2003
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Analyze That packshot
Mafia boss is back for a second helping of psychotherapy.
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Director: Harold Ramis

Writer: Peter Steinfeld, Harold Ramis, Peter Tolan

Starring: Robert De Niro, Billy Crystal, Lisa Kudrow, Joe Viterelli, Cathy Moriarty, Kyle Sabihy, John Finn, Anthony LaPaglia

Year: 2002

Runtime: 95 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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