The mafia's Paul Vitti is back in prison and will need some serious counseling when he gets out. Naturally, he returns to his analyst Dr. Ben Sobel for help and finds that Sobel needs some serious help himself as he has inherited the family practice, as well as an excess stock of stress. Written by
The rise of the producing team of Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer (Top Gun, Flashdance and sundry other subtle works exploring the deepest secrets of the human heart) in the 1980s introduced the High Concept movie - one whose premise and entire raison d'être could be summed up in a single sentence, preferably referring to other hit movies for example Days of Thunder was `Top Gun with cars.' 1999's Analyse This may have been a High Concept movie Mafia Don Sees Shrink With Hilarious Results but it had a lightness of touch that made it seem less like a focus-group product and more like an offbeat little comedy.
Unfortunately for Analyse That, the success of The Sopranos has made Mafioso-psychiatrist relations almost as much a cliché as two cops, one steady and by the book and the other an impulsive maverick, who initially hate each other but bond over the course of several gun battles. More fundamentally, the concept of Analyse This hasn't been taken any further. There could be some entertainment to be had when Robert de Niro's character takes a job as an advisor on `Little Caesar', a Mafia-themed TV drama, but the main joke is that the actor playing the Don is an Australian. It struck me that both actors who played Don Corleone in The Godfather series have now taken the mickey out of the mafia Brando in The Freshman and now de Niro in the Analyse This and That series (if there's a sequel, what will it be called? Analyse The Other?)
Lisa Kudrow is grossly underused one gets the feeling that much of her part ended up on the cutting room floor. Both Crystal and de Niro are pretty good (this is called `damning with faint praise' in the trade, if you're wondering) There are some pleasing shots of New York, and David Holmes' soundtrack has its moments (although is nothing to his work for Ocean's Eleven or Out of Sight) Analyse That is not a bad film, just a rather forgettable one. Puts the `sleep' into `sleeps with the fishes.'
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