Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Feature length audio commentary; Making
of (11 mins); Additional scenes.
THE self-humiliation of Robert De Niro is all but completed in
Analyze That, the phenomenally bad sequel to the successful Mafia/shrink
comedy, co-starring Billy Crystal.
Having sent himself up to embarrassing effect in the woeful Adventures
of Rocky and Bullwinkle, and then playing dumb alongside Eddie
Murphy in last years Showtime,
the former Godfather star ought now to be sleeping with the fishes
in terms of making people laugh.
Analyze That is a misfire from start to finish, a painful example
of why the law of diminishing returns usually applies to sequels.
It is tired, uninspired and, worse still, criminally unfunny.
De Niro reprises his role of Mob boss, Paul Vitti, now nearing
the end of his term in Sing Sing, and on the verge of a nervous
breakdown because of the recent threats on his life by a rival
Family keen to avoid his return to the streets.
Enter psychotherapist Ben Sobel (Crystal), his therapist from
the original, who gets called in by the FBI to consult on the
Trouble is, Sobel is experiencing a crisis of his own, prompted
by the recent death of his father, and wants nothing to do with
Vitti, but is forced to take the Mobster into his custody, as
houseguest, while trying to find him some gainful employment.
Throughout proceedings, Crystals shrink refers to his grieving
as a process, using it as a defence mechanism to describe
why he has become so disrespectful to Vitti. It is an appropriate
metaphor for the movie.
Devised as a process purely to make money, based on the success
of its predecessor, Analyze That is a calamity for all concerned,
and one which backfired at the US Box Office. Whereas the first
film was, in places, funny, this feels worn out from the start
and, worse, reduces the formerly great De Niro to an embarrassment.
The actor seems to think that by merely contorting his face into
different positions, he can generate laughs, while his early renditions
of songs from West Side Story (while feigning insanity) are excruciatingly
bad and likely to leave viewers squirming.
Crystal is no better, cruising on auto-pilot and looking bored
throughout, while Friends
star, Lisa Kudrow, merely seems content to extend her TV persona,
Phoebe, onto the big screen.
Director, Harold Ramis, continually fails to turn some promising
scenarios into anything funny, while the Mob dealings, which are
designed to lend the film a grittier edge, also seem formulaic
and ripped straight out of The Sopranos - all of which help to
turn the film into a massive bore.
Anyone thinking about spending their hard-earned cash on this
drivel is best advised, in the words of many of the characters,
to forget about it. I only wish I could!