1999; Rated R; 103 Minutes
Robert DeNiro: Paul Vitti
Billy Crystal: Ben Sobel
Lisa Kudrow: Laura MacNamara
Joe Viterelli: Jelly
Chazz Palminteri: Primo Sindone
Produced by Len Amato,
Bruce Berman, Chris Brigham, Billy Crystal, Suzanna Herrington,
Jane Rosenthal and Paula Weinstein; Directed by Harold
Ramis; Screenwritten by Ken Lonergan, Peter Tolan
and Harold Ramis
by DAVID KEYES
This" is that kind of movie that makes you think about the
minds of the movie makers, and if those minds were "sleeping
with the fishes" long before they got into the movie business.
What in the world prompted them to think that this movie
would pass off as great comedy? It's not just lacking in
ambition, but overly done in typecasting as well. The filmmakers
think that the humor will evolve naturally from the plot
situations, so there's no need to be aspiring in the laugh
department. But they forget that we've seen these people
portray these exact characters in other movies, and none
of it is funny.
whole miscalculation is done by Harold Ramis, who can be
funny, but seldom allows his essence of comedy to sink faithfully
into the movies. With the "Ghostbusters" pictures, he wrote
scripts both dimwitted and half-baked. With "Groundhog Day,"
he gave a new meaning to the word of "annoyance" when he
took Bill Murray's life and put it on instant replay over
and over again. All three pictures are not funny, and frankly,
neither is "Analyze This," a movie so sluggish and corny,
not even a script written by Shakespeare could have saved
it. But keep in mind that the problem is not really the
characters or the actors. Everything centers around the
humor, which is obvious, poorly developed, and maniacally
portrayed through the underbelly of Mafia typecasting.
movie stars Robert DeNiro in a role as old as most Mafia
movies. He plays Paul Vitti, a gangster suffering from anxiety
attacks, probably brought on with the pressure of becoming
the head of his crime family. His right-hand man, Jelly,
comes across a psychiatrist named Ben (Billy Crystal), when
the shrink backs into the guy's car. Seeing it as an opportunity
for his boss to rid himself of all the panic, Jelly gives
Ben's business card to Vitti. Before you know it, Ben finds
himself trying to get the gangster in touch with his "feelings,"
although no one (even me) is really sure about what a gangster
feels. Actually, none of the psychiatry sessions start until
about halfway into the picture: the concept at the beginning
lingers as Ben tries to decide on taking the case or not,
meanwhile Vitti's anxiety attacks heighten, even when sentimental
commercials come on TV and he breaks into tears.
film contains a lot of running around, too: in addition
to the jokes at psychiatrists and gangsters, you have two
wedding ceremonies between Ben and his bride (the first
was interrupted), a shouting Mafia maniac named Primo (Chazz
Palminteri), and a prime chemistry between Ben and Paul,
which develops well, but feels reluctant to offer more than
just smiles, or for that matter, frowns. You never really
laugh. The ambition level is so void that it deteriorates
the whole concept beyond appreciation.
really disliked this movie. Not just in a typical disliking
way, either. I disliked it because of its lack in attempting
humor, its objective, its stereotypical characters, and,
most importantly, its boredom factor. Why did so many critics
and viewer's laugh at it then? I dunno. Maybe they found
something in it that I didn't. Maybe they didn't care that
the actors were in their typical acting roles, or maybe
they found it to be unique in the way both stereotypical
personalities were teamed up. "Analyze This" either way
has problems. For some, those problems can pass off. For
others, like me, they can both annoy and distract you from
much of the film's redeeming value (that is, if it had any).
1999, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
Please e-mail the author here
if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.