Analyze This (Movie Review)

A satirical examination of the serious mafia films of the past several decades, Analyze This is a witty and clever comedy about the seedy underworld of organized crime. Arguably the best mafia parody to hit the big screen, the film showcases Robert De Niro’s diversity as actor who can crossover into different genres. His success foreshadows later triumphs in Meet The Parents and Meet The Fockers, where De Niro truly shines and manages to steal the show from comedy master Ben Stiller. While far from the greatest comedy ever written, Analyze This still manages to keep the laughs coming, and as long as the viewer recognizes the film’s satirical aims and doesn’t take the movie too seriously, it becomes quite an enjoyable experience…

Billy Crystal plays the role of Dr. Ben Sobel, an eminent psychiatrist unchallenged by his patients who is seeking to branch out into more difficult case work. But at the moment, his life is filled with wedding plans (for his impending marriage to a TV reporter), the eavesdropping of his adolescent son (Sobel sees patients in his home), and the reluctance of his parents to attend his own wedding. All of this confusion is further compounded when Ben rams into the back of a black sedan driven by a man named Jelly (Joe Viterelli). The trunk pops open and almost reveals a man inside. Ben gives his card to Jelly who later hands it to his boss Paul Vitti (Robert De Niro).

It turns out Vitti is a notorious mafia boss recently suffering from anxiety attacks, crying bouts, and impotence (screenplay most likely written prior to Viagra hitting the market). Vitti arranges a meeting with Ben, making it clear that he will be his newest patient. Believing Ben can work wonders and is a genius, Vitti forces him to be on call at all times – refusing to recognize his obligation to other patients or his impending wedding. With a meeting of the mafia bosses just two weeks away, Vitti fears that his problems will become known, and he believes Ben can cure him. Meanwhile, Ben’s problems are further complicated by the FBI’s insistence that he wear a wire Will Vitti discover the wire? Will he kill Ben? Will the mafia bosses kill them both? Analyze This is home to some funny scenes in which we find out all the answers.

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