Directed by Harold Ramis.
Written by Peter Steinfeld, Peter Tolan, and Harold Ramis.
Starring Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal.
Release Year: 2002
Review Date: 12/8/02
It was Friday night, and I was kind of
tired, so my buddy Toby and I went over to the multiplex to catch a
mainstreamer. Our options were “Empire”—the new John Leguizamo
urban drama—or “Analyze That.” I let Toby pick since he was working
off a more vital schedule and he picked the latter.
“Analyze That” is probably the only perfect
Matinee-rated film I have seen this year. It is absolutely
average. Using characters from the first film, “Analyze This”, the
sequel adds absolutely nothing to these pre-established entities.
Billy Crystal is back again as Dr. Ben Sobel, the Jewish
psychiatrist that got mixed up with gangster Paul Vitti (Robert De
Niro) in the first film. There is some sort of plot revolving
around Vitti’s attempt to get out of prison because someone is
trying to kill him, and to get out he fakes a case of loco-sitis and
has to find a regular job to keep himself out of trouble for 30 days
until his parole hearing, time that he uses to find the killer.
Vitti comes under Sobel’s home care, hijinks ensue, blah blah blah.
The movie has some pretty funny scenes every
so often, and De Niro is once again very good with this character.
Crystal is useless and about 30% of his lines are this exact
phrase: “Grieving—It’s a process.” Crystal hasn’t worked much
since the 1999 original—and, only once onscreen, in “America’s
Sweethearts”—and he doesn’t seem to be that interested in working
here, as he dials in a performance that even as written doesn’t have
him doing much to drive the weak plotline. Lisa Kudrow should have
said no to this film, since she has only a handful of scenes and
adds nothing to her thin film portfolio (“Lucky Numbers”?? “Clockwatchers”??).
So, it is just De Niro here, and he works well with the little that
he is given, including a chance to work as a consultant on a
“Sopranos”-style cable TV drama called “Little Caesar” or to play
Vitti as a stubborn Italian trying to work in the confines of the
American 9-to-5 work day. Early on, as Vitti tries to convince us
that he has gone looney, there are some great scenes with Vitti
trying to finish some psychological testing exercises. The best
scene in “Analyze That”—where Vitti keeps having flashes of criminal
activity while trying to sell diamonds in a jewelry store—is very
funny, but not very memorable...as I sit here now trying to even
remember why I was laughing so hard at the scene, I can’t remember
what exactly was happening in those flashes. (And, my roommate Jon
and I agree: the hook from the original film, where Vitti is always
saying to Sobel “Youuuuu...You’re good, you” is bad to the point of
being annoying in the sequel. It just doesn’t work here, and now I
wonder why I thought that was funny in the original? It felt
really, really forced in the sequel.)
The film’s payoff isn’t very interesting.
The supporting characters in the Mob, led by Joe Viterelli as Jelly,
have the look down but almost no personality. There are times when
this film seems undirected, and my thought was that director Harold
Ramis (“Caddyshack”, “Groundhog Day”) probably just dialed it in
here as he was on the way to the bank to collect a large paycheck.
The film looks like it was shot by union professionals who were very
nice people and could do a serviceable job with just about any kind
of material, but there is almost no creativity in the sets or the
look of the film at all. The score is stock and the locales are,
too—it’s basically New York City 101 at times.
But, the film is funny enough to make you
think you didn’t waste any money. You also don’t have to be
burdened by worrying that you learned anything, because you didn’t.
And, best of all, you will almost totally forget that you saw the
film this weekend because “Analyze That” is so average. With so
many things going on in your life right now into the holiday season,
what more can you ask for?
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard