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Analyze This (1999)

New Yorks most powerful gangster is about to get in touch with his feelings. YOU try telling him his 50 minutes are up.

Directed by:

Harold Ramis

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 103 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: United States

Mobsters aren’t inherently funny. They’re the sort of fellows who wouldn’t think twice about sending you a loved one’s extremities, leaving the severed head of your favourite farmyard animal in your bed, or strapping you to a barrel of ale and rolling it into a nearby canal. And that’s just if you happen to look at them in the wrong way.

It would seem, however, that Hollywood sees the Mafia as a veritable mine of material for its comedy department. Okay, so that mine has been subjected to a little too much plundering over the past few years, what with ‘Mickey Blue Eyes’, ‘The Whole Nine Yards’ and the sub-standard sequel Analyze That essentially inflicting the same line of jokes upon us time and time again – but here’s an instance where it actually works.

‘Analyze This’ pairs up Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal as a feared Big Apple hoodlum and his nervy psychiatrist (no prizes for guessing which one’s which). De Niro’s character, Paul Vitti, ain’t a man to mess with, but he’s also got problems – he has panic attacks, keeps bursting into tears, and can’t stop thinking about his mother. It’s just the good doc’s luck that he inadvertently gave one of Vitti’s henchmen his business card the previous evening.

Unsurprisingly, the two soon become tangled up in each other’s lives and, ba-da-boom ba-da-bing, the comedy set-ups come thick and fast. It’s not exactly an all-time classic, but director Harold Ramis gives us a fun hundred-or-so minutes with some nicely-observed characters. Crystal is, of course, a natural in pretty much any out-and-out comedy role, and De Niro makes good work of lampooning his own swellguy image at a time when the idea still seemed fresh. Lisa Kudrow provides subdued support as Crystal’s increasingly exasperated fiancée, and Joe Viterelli gets a few laughs of his own as the chubby gangster charged with finding his boss a shrink.

It's Got: A trip to swim with the sharks.

It Needs: A cameo role for Joe Pesci.

DVD Extras An audio commentary from the two leads, and some out-takes. DVD Extras Rating: 3/10

Alternatives:

Analyze That, Mickey Blue Eyes, The Whole Nine Yards, What About Bob?

Summary

Crime might not pay, but here’s proof that a comedy about it can.

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