WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal reunite their unlikely duo of a tough mob boss and wimpy shrink in the sequel to 1999's immensely successful ANALYZE THIS. This time around, Paul Vitti (De Niro) starts belting out show tunes in the joint and when the feds are convinced he's gone nuts, they release him in his old pal's custody.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
There's something about unlikely sidekicks: once they star together in a hit film, you have a feeling that their next pairing will not be so unlikely and unfortunately-- much less funny. True to form, this disappointing sequel to the initial huge hit is as manufactured as Billy Crystal's Oscars jokes and as subtle as Robert De Niro's trademark kicks in the head. Toss in the detestable and less-than-one-dimensional Lisa Kudrow (surprise! as a quirky blonde!... yecch) and what you've got is a film that never fully gets off the ground. ANALYZE THAT starts off okay, has some good laughs in the middle and eventually turns into a disagreeable mess with a pseudo-attempt at sentimental titillation, some predictable action and a geeky Jewish actor suddenly finding his balls and tossing a punch. Unexpected? No. Everything in this movie you see coming faster than a speeding bullet.
The only truly funny part comes courtesy of De Niro when his character, attempting to go legit, goes through a series of dinky jobs which he handles with the delicacy of a starving Italian let loose upon the pasta bar. It's not all bad though. De Niro provides the film's only "big laughs" moment, but he himself is pretty funny throughout, as are many of (but not all) of the mob cronies who hang around him. Also, once you realize the complete lack of necessity of Crystal's character, you may even be able to get into the mob-plot a bit more than I did. There also happens to be a whole secondary plot in which some pathetic theater director is busy filming a SOPRANOS-like TV show in which he himself is pretty funny and Anthony Lapaglia gets a funny line or two as well. Mostly though, this is a typical Hollywood sequel with a lot of rehash, no real substance and fingers crossed in the hopes of luring in the first film's fans and their hard-earned cash. Disappointing, but not unexpected.
To begin with, you can hear a lackluster full length audio commentary by co-writer/director Harold Ramis. Ramis is usually a pretty funny guy but the sedative effects of this track are without fail. Basically, Ramis has one tone of voice throughout and about 75% of the track consists of him saying "This is..." and then describing something about the scene or the set. It's like listening to Ben Stein for an hour and a half.
The second featurette is a 10-minute long "documentary" on the making of ANALYZE THAT. It consists of actors and crewmembers giving their thoughts on their characters and the story. It's one of those studio made jobs that doesn't really give any new insight, doesn't really make you want to watch the film more or doesn't really want to make you do anything at all. De Niro looks pretty cool with long hair though.
The rest is pretty standard stuff: M.A.D.E. is a questions and answers game that tests your knowledge of the mob and places you in the Mafia's chain of command. There's also a set of cast & crew bios and the theatrical trailer.
If you got a huge laugh out of ANALYZE THIS, you may get a chuckle out of ANALYZE THAT, but it's by no means a must-see. Pretty ideal for a winter night when you can slap on some sweat pants and drive to the video store, but chances are that it'll be on the shelf when you get there so don't take chances driving. Rental at best.