Analyze That

Harold Ramis's 1999 hit ANALYZE THIS was filled with chuckles and sit com appeal; this sequel is charmless and sour. THIS was an amusing comedy that fizzled in the end, a nicely tripping badda-bing without a climactic badda-boom; THAT is a dull retread that should sleep with the fishes. Mafia capo Paul Vitti (Robert De Niro), who's now serving his prison...read more

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Reviewed by Frank Lovece
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Harold Ramis's 1999 hit ANALYZE THIS was filled with chuckles and sit com appeal; this sequel is charmless and sour. THIS was an amusing comedy that fizzled in the end, a nicely tripping badda-bing without a climactic badda-boom; THAT is a dull retread that should sleep with the fishes. Mafia capo Paul Vitti (Robert De Niro), who's now serving his prison time, has become the target of assassination attempts and feigns mental illness in order to get out. The FBI calls in Vitti's psychiatrist, Ben Sobel (Billy Crystal), to assess the don's sanity, and Sobel, for no compelling personal reason, agrees to take Vitti into his home for a month so that Vitti can get cleaned up and employed before his parole hearing. (Yes, even a Gotti manque like Vitti gets a parole hearing.) Through improbable leaps of logic, things get progressively more disjointed and difficult to swallow, as if the filmmakers couldn't decide if this should be an odd-couple comedy, a fish-out-of-water story (Vitti unconvincingly works a series of odd jobs, including car salesman), a caper (there's a perfunctory, lazily plotted heist) or a satire (an uncredited Anthony LaPaglia, Vincent Pastore and others appear in a Sopranos-like series called Little Caesar). Adding to all this bouncing from one underdeveloped idea to another is the movie's loose footing in its own environment — virtually none of Vitti's customers, for instance, seems to recognize that a famous public figure is trying to sell them a car. Bewildering and bland, the movie also fumbles the stunt casting of real-life therapist Dr. Joyce Brothers (who's briefly glimpsed but has no lines) and New York Yankees manager Joe Torre (who seems genuinely stumped by the bit of odd, pointless dialogue to which he's supposed to respond). Thankfully, Lisa Kudrow, who was sadly wasted in ANALYZE THIS as Sobel's fianc&#233e, is given a little more to do here as his wife, and one-of-a-kind character actor Joe Vitarelli reprises his role as Vitti's loyal but slow-thinking lieutenant, Jelly. Throughout this miseria, De Niro does make his character scary and authoritative, as does Cathy Moriarty-Gentile playing a rival mob boss (in a neat reunion with her RAGING BULL co-star). The annoying Reg Rogers, who plays Little Caesar creator Raoul Berman, on the other hand, delivers his lines like a stoned Pee-wee Herman, and the scene in which Sobel mutters and drools in a restaurant is just disturbing for anyone who admired Crystal's work in the past.

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