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Analyze This

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Analyze This

Starring: Robert De Niro, Billy Crystal
Director: Harold Ramis
Rated: R
RunTime: 86 Minutes
Release Date: March 1999
Genre: Comedy


*Also starring: Lisa Kudrow, Molly Shannon



Review by AlexI
3½ stars out of 4

"..A comedy you can't refuse.."

Paul Vitti (Robert De Niro) is one of the most known and feared mafia leaders in the U.S. A man that has handled "the family business" his entire life. But then a strange thing happens. Paul can't sleep, he keeps thinking about his wife, while being with his regularly girlfriend. But what's most important - he lost his ability to kill. Ben Sobol (Billy Chrystal) is one of the most known and respected psychiatrists in the U.S. - a man really living the American dream, surrounded by perfection. But no one realizes is that underneath he is rather ordinary kind of man, with a son, a fiancé (Lisa Kudrow) and the same problems as everyone else.

By some peculiar circumstances these two men, so different in personality and way of life, meet. Sobol is then offered a doubting privilege of being Vitti's "underground shrink". This is the beginning of a strange relationship, which will not only bring the two men closer to each other, but also change their personalities, completing them by their opposites.

This is Harold Ramis'amusing comedy. Instead of trying to squeeze laughter out of us by bad jokes and other desperate measures (think "Mafia" !), "Analyze This" is actually funny and entertaining, because of the humorous situations, fine acting and witty dialogue. Instead of repeating the horrible comedy clichés, Ramis is actually using them to get a shine of self-parody to his film. This interesting tactic is effective and amusing, allowing satire, referring to De Niro's screen past, and yet keeping the focus on the strange friendship between two men who speak entirely on different levels and in languages.

The fact that Robert De Niro is playing a mafia chieftain in this kind of film is interesting indeed. The actor has almost become a trademark for "godfathers" and mafia leaders. While playing his part with a sense of self-parody, he manages to not overact, so that his character does not seem silly or unreal. He really is a magnificent actor, that manages to float into every role, be that emotional drama or light comedy; and although this is not an award worthy performance, this is one of his most amusing roles, for which he deserves some credit. Lisa Kudrow, Vitty's "people", and other supporting characters in the story are almost unnoticeable, as the director concentrates his energy on the two main characters. And jet, although this is a comedy, and both the events, characters and their interrelations with each other are glamorized and simplified, this is also an interesting and nuanced meditation of what it means to be an Italian functioning in an America where Italian is an synonym for pizza and "The Godfather", as well as giving us an interesting peek into mobster mentality. Those particular elements are not especially explored simply because t his isn't a deeply involving human drama. The characters are thin as bible paper, many parallel stories and relationships are started, but not completed, leaving them unfinished; and the film itself isn't an elegantly crafted cinematic experience, but I guarantee you a good time and a good laugh.

"Analyze This" is a funny, clever and well crafted piece of moviemaking, which although won't make history, will entertain and amuse many before it's forgotten, and that's exactly its purpose.

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