Analyze That
review by Gregory Avery, 6 December 2002

In the interest of fair disclosure, I must state that I walked out of Analyze That at the point where Billy Crystal stuck a handgun in his belt and it slips down inside the front of his trousers, causing him to go ooh, ah, ah, ooh, ah a lot. This is not what I would expect to find in a Billy Crystal picture, and it is not what I would want to see Billy Crystal doing on the screen. However, if you put down your hard-earned money to see this movie, you will probably want to leave at the same point, as well. It really, really is that bad.

This is -- for want of a place to start, if we're going to talk about this picture at any length at all -- a sequel to the 1999 comedy, Analyze This (meaning, if there's going to be another sequel, and don't bank the farm on that, it may be called Analyze Those), where Robert De Niro played a mobster who would up under the good graces of a psychiatrist played by Billy Crystal. It should be noted that Kenneth Lonergan, who co-wrote the screenplay for that picture (and wrote the one for You Can Count On Me, which he also directed, with rewarding results), is not present, here. The new story has something to do with De Niro's mobster, now incarcerated, having a breakdown in prison, which causes him to start singing all the songs from West Side Story. He is released, imminent to a parole hearing, to the custody of Crystal's psychiatrist, and has to live in his home with his family (including his wife, played, again, by Lisa Kudrow). De Niro tries his hand as a salesman in a car showroom. He gets hired as a consultant for a TV show that, gosh be golly, looks a lot like The Sopranos. (One of the show's actors is played, uncredited, by Anthony LaPaglia, in one of the only instances where one can hear him using his native Australian accent.) Then there is an attempt to rob some trucks carrying gold bullion, which doesn't make much sense. Nothing, in fact, makes sense in this film.

Which might not be so bad if the jokes were any good. In one scene, De Niro exposes himself to a bunch of elderly ladies. He also asks for a bacon strip at a Jewish reception. Cathy Moriarty-Gentile, who played the glorious Vickie opposite De Niro's Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull (and who still looks pretty darn good, in my opinion), holds up an electric mixer and asks, "Do you wanna lick my beaters?" There is a scene where Crystal dribbles food out of his mouth, at length, in a restaurant. There is another where he is extensively goosed by a thug, who then tries to shake Crystal's hand with the same hand he'd just used for the goosing. This is as good as it gets.

Kudrow and Joe Viterelli, who has a wonderful bowl-of-mashed-potatoes-like face and reprises his role, here, from the 1999 film as De Niro's sidekick, escape from disgracing themselves in the least (But can someone please give Lisa Kudrow a chance to again show what she showed to such marvelous extent in The Opposite of Sex?). Crystal, De Niro, and director Harold Ramis (who once gave us Groundhog Day) have no excuse  for why they settled on such awful material. Some people voiced the opinion that Robert De Niro's performances in Analyze This and Meet the Parents were better than the serious work he was doing at the same time, and that maybe he should do more comedy. Well, after his appearances in Showtime and this movie, Robert De Niro's got a lot of explaining to do.


Read Carrie Gorringe's review of Analyze This.

Directed by:
Harold Ramis

Starring:
Robert De Niro
Billy Crystal
Lisa Kudrow
Joe Viterelli
Cathy Moriarty-Gentile

Written by:
Peter Steinfeld
Harold Ramis
Peter Tolan

Rated:
R - Restricted.
Under 17 requires
parent or adult
guardian.

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