A/V Room









Analyze That (15)

Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: One

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 year’s 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 case.

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, Crystal’s 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!

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