Reviewer's Rating 1 out of 5  
Analyze That (2003)

"Analyze That" is to comedy what asbestos is to healthy lungs: a smothering, life-sapping pain.

Its sole point of interest is in watching Robert De Niro's continued on-screen midlife crisis, as he mercilessly and mirthlessly parodies himself, tearing down the memories of a once mighty actor. It's a pleasure only for masochists.

A mercenary follow-up to the relentlessly mediocre, yet mystifyingly successful, "Analyze This", it again partners neurotic hood Paul Vitti (De Niro) with nervy shrink Ben Sobel (Billy Crystal).

"It was really nothing," pants Crystal, of the mafia/mental breakdown japery of part one. He's right.

Part two is equally anaemic. Vitti feigns insanity to get out of clink and the authorities entrust him to Sobel's care, confident that his release will shake up the local organised crime. It does.

Soon rival families are vying for Vitti's services, while he's working as a consultant for hit TV series Little Caesar.

Apologies if that sounds even vaguely interesting. It isn't. There's more life in a mortuary than in Harold Ramis' laboured direction, the script creaks through 95 minutes as if they were 180, with no joke too obvious, cheap, or derivative.

Back in 1999, "Analyze This" had its thunder stolen by The Sopranos, but if the Little Caesar device is an attempt to bite back, it's toothless.

Ramis has been beaten to the punch again, as a Sopranos subplot has already effectively mocked the entertainment industry's obsession with gangster chic.

But who cares? Certainly not the cast.

De Niro was paid $20 million for his hopeless mugging, so who can really blame him for coming back for seconds? He's having a laugh at the studio's expense.

It's just a shame no one else is.

"Analyze That" opens in UK cinemas on Friday 28th February 2003.

End Credits

Director: Harold Ramis

Writer: Peter Steinfeld, Harold Ramis, Peter Tolan

Stars: Robert De Niro, Billy Crystal, Lisa Kudrow, Joe Viterelli, Cathy Moriarty, John Finn

Genre: Comedy

Length: 95 minutes

Cinema: 28 February 2003

Country: USA

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