Analyze That
2 out of 5 stars
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The 1999 comedy Analyze This was a surprise because the script was genuinely witty, making good use of Crystal's deadpan shtick and showing DeNiro's hitherto untapped talent for comedy. The characters were set up for a sequel, and indeed there's a certain anticipation here because we want to see where they go. But this script feels so slap-dash that you wonder if anyone read it before the cameras started rolling. The story: Gang boss Paul Vitti (DeNiro) goes bonkers in prison, so his old shrink Dr Sobel (Crystal) is called to help. Vitti is released into Sobel's custody and comes to live with him and his understandably angry wife (Kudrow). Very soon things start to go wrong. Vitti gets a job on a Sopranos-style TV series (starring the uncredited LaPaglia), while New York's rival mafia bosses (Moriarty-Gentile and Gio) keep watchful eyes--and guns--on him.

Besides a few obviously adlibbed gags from Crystal, the film's only funny moments occur in outtakes during the ending credits. There is simply nothing else remotely humorous. All attempts at comedy are merely slapstick wackiness pasted onto the plot; unlike the first film, none of it emerges naturally from the characters or situations. DeNiro gamely does anything the filmmakers ask him to do, from singing much of the West Side Story score to mugging his way through a series of first days on the job. Crystal seems oddly restrained by an overcomplicated plot that barely lets him do what he does best: talk fast. It's breezy enough to be watchable, and everyone somehow emerges with their dignity intact. But this is one of the most leaden sequels in memory. What a waste.

cert 12 themes, language, violence 7.Jan.03

dir Harold Ramis
scr Peter Steinfeld, Harold Ramis, Peter Tolan
with Robert De Niro, Billy Crystal, Lisa Kudrow, Joe Viterelli, Anthony LaPaglia, Cathy Moriarty-Gentile, Frank Gio, Callie Thorne, John Finn, Kyle Sabihy, James Biberi, Pat Cooper
release US 6.Dec.02; UK 7.Mar.03
02/US 1h35

I feel pretty. Vitti (DeNiro) performs a few showtunes for the cheering prison crowd...

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send your review to Shadows... back in therapy "This is a sequel made because the first one, Analyze This, was such a funny hit. In the sequel all the players are back - and I gotta say, it is even funnier. It made us laugh out loud and some of the others in the theatre were literally guffawing. The outtakes at the end are worth sticking around to watch also. Go see this movie; if you liked the first, you will like the second even more." --Laurie T, Minneapolis 8.Dec.02
2003 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall