Analyze This

By: Shaun

"Analyze This" is the funniest movie since "There’s Something About Mary", the comedy piles on like a load of bricks, the bricks are so much that by the end of the movie you cannot breath anymore, your sides hurt from all these laugh out load scenes. Vintage comedy strips flash on the big screen that bring you to tears, an infallible film from start to finish, it is consistent in filling your body with humor, it becomes facetious towards serious gangster material. The material used is rich and the timing is precise, director Harold Raimis nourishes his film by getting the mood set to a tone fitting the setting, and has contingence plans when a scene seems to be slipping. How can one not explode into laughter when they see Robert De Niro simulate the role of Jimmy Conway or Vitto Corleone, or see Billy Crystal play a psychiatrist treating this tyrant gangster, they both have notable performance that was hidden in them and they have just broken out. The films innovation should be credited to the ensemble cast, they basically make the film what it is, genuine, without them I do not think it would have such class. If you are familiar with the fields of gangster movies then it would be easier to get a lot of the little jokes used here, it is about time someone has the brain and audacity to paradox this genre, and make something better then the terrible summer bomb "Mafia", this film was wholehearted and full of feeling. I am happy that De Niro has finally got a box office success, it is getting rave reviews from critics and if you see it in a full theatre chances are you will miss a lot of the jokes from the crowds uproarious laughter, you should go to this one in the morning. Expert talent was shown by the director of such hits like "Groundhogs Day" and the fair film "Multiplicity", here he goes all out and redefines comedy, I am actually intrigued to see it again, he devised this film perfectly. I am just so happy that I can go to a film , sit down and just be served up meal after meal of laughter, films rarely ever do that with dialogue, "There’s Something About Mary’ fulfilled its job with physical commitment and showing us grotesque images that we thought are banned from films, the script here is genius. Since you get this opportunity so rarely I suggest you see it before you proceed with this review.

New York’s most feared mob boss Paul Vitti (Robert De Niro, in a great follow up role to "Ronin"), is the toughest most intimidating gangster known, no fear, no disrespect, takes care of business, until he begins to get anxiety attack, stress. Chest pains occur to him, his heart beats rapidly and he thinks they are heart attacks, but deep down he knows that he has stress, a potent and feared gangster has stress, just the concept is a riot. After checking in and out of doctors he realizes that there is but one solution, psycho therapy, and just after a member of his "family", Dominique, is gunned down as mistake, the shooters were aiming for him, Paul becomes frightened from the concept of coming so close to death. Members in his "family’ such as his right hand man Jelly (Joe Viterelli) provide such scenes of these laugh out loud classic moments I was informing you about, it’s the little supporting roles like his that boost the film up to greatness.

Ben Sobel (bravura Billy Crystal) is the unfortunate psychiatrist that has the task to cure this wounded gangster and help him stand up for himself, get back to the way things used to be, make him cunning and his senses keen, revive him to the gangster he was. As Dr. Sobel puts it, "What is my job here Paul, to make you a happy well adjusted gangster?", as "Dr. Strangelove" did, this film uses such serious and debated material into something commonly done and casual. Crystal needed this performance, I did not see him in a descent role for a long while. The only minus to this film that I could think of is Dr. Sobel’s son Michael whom is annoying and not needed, but there are so many positive sides to his film that I cannot let this minor casualty reduce from its greatness.

Other supporting roles that are not wasted here is Dr. Sobel’s future wife Laura (Lisa Kudrow) who has such funny lines such as "You had me so worried, I even ate a Rice Crispy Treat", and the gangster in competition with Paul, Primo (Chazz Palminteri) who is one of those guys you hate to hate.

The films highpoints are the interactions between Dr. Sobel and Paul, they have such conversations that I cannot even begin to explain to you what emotions will arise from your funny bones, De Niro’s breakdown scenes of tears were well done, and Crystal’s acting was amazing, I never knew he had it in him. You can tell from the start that Crystal is in the right track, the first scene we see him treat "Saturday Night Live’s" Molly Shannon, I can actually not remember one scene that is not enjoyable, there are even such scenes of bloody action to fulfil the needs of action fans. This is a gangster comedy with a twist, you have never seen anything like it before, the best film so far in 1999!


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