See this, this is what I’m talking about! Ever since Dan forced me to watch “The Hangover Part II,” I’ve really questioned his taste in comedies. Yeah there have been some good ones throughout my time “reviewing” movies but the scar of watching one terrible film stays with you for a while. But you, you are a step in the right direction.
“Analyze This” is the perfect parody of all the mobster movies. It stars the classic gangster actor in Robert De Niro who flourishes in a role he basically perfected. And through most of the film, he is the real star. After having a stress attack (not that anyone should know), Paul Vitti seeks out therapy and of course falls into the lap of Billy Crystal’s Dr. Ben Sobel. As you might assume, they are perfect opposites.
Vitti is a powerful man who is used to just getting his way. He intimidates and commands his way through most of the movie much to the chagrin of Sobel. The Psychiatrist is trying to focus on his wedding but his new “client” quickly takes over his life. And what makes it so funny is how the doctor does very little to impress Vitti who, of course, comes back soon after because his “therapy” didn’t quite take.
Now while the mob boss tries to figure out what’s keeping him down, Dr. Sobel is thrown into a world he cannot fit into. It’s not just that he is smarter than all of the gangsters but the way they talk to him and expect things done that really frustrates him. I mean the poor man just wants to get married!
Although the mobsters are overall the main comedic strength of the film, the best section actually comes from the doctor at the end of the film. With Vitti detained, Dr. Sobel is forced into representing him at the big mob boss meeting that has been hyped up throughout the whole movie. While in previous times he tried to shy away from this world, Ben now has no choice but to embrace it in order to adapt.
When the main villain Primo calls out the Vitti family, the doctor has to put his mobster “skills” to the test. He uses every Italian stereotype in the book, which confuses his attackers as well as performs a little therapy. It’s a scene that is definitely worth a watch even if you’ve missed most of the movie. This is the perfect comedic parody to all those gangster movies I’ve been forced to watch.
With two great leads, you may wonder if some of the secondary characters suffer due to their lack of importance. Outside of the dimwitted Jelly, this is true. Most of the other characters have little to say or add to the film with some, like Ben’s son Michael, completely disappearing for major portions of the movie. Even some of the villains are non-existent most of the time.
Yet when it all comes down to it, the two main characters are why you watch “Analyze This.” One humorous actor and one serious actor collaborate to create a great comedy especially in the way it parodies a genre that tends to be very dark. While some of that does creep in, the humor wins out. So now I wonder if the sequel holds up….
+ Danny Reiter is the producer of the Dan Sileo Show.