103 Min | Comedy – Crime | September 1999
IMDB Rating: 6.7
Director: Harold Ramis
Starring: Robert De Niro, Billy Crystal, Lisa Kudrow
Analyze This Review: In “Analyze This,” when he stares at Billy Crystal with his iconic “Who you talkin’ to?” Glare, it is not out of pleasure, but out of sheer amazement. In short, he is asking everyone in the room (and the audience) if he’s the only one who’s seeing what’s going on, and the complete absurdity of it all. Watching De Niro’s face in “Analyze This,” and listening to the accompanying comical speeches, is the pure pleasure of the film. He steals the show.
In Analyze This, Ben Sobel is a frustrated, failing psychologist trying to raise a son on his own, and keep a relationship with his girlfriend from falling apart. When he smashes into the back of Vitti’s car, the Mafia kingpin’s right-hand-man, Jelly, asks him to help out his employer. Sobel is of course quite reluctant to begin practice on New York’s most infamous Mafia figure, but reluctantly does so after being threatened. Meanwhile, a reunion of all the powerful Mafia figures in New York looms ominously nearer, and Sobel finds himself being targeted by the FBI, as well as professional hit men who find themselves being thrown out of hotel windows by Vitti. “Let me guess, he just jumped?” Sobel asks. Vitti is eager to use this as an explanation for the incident.
“Analyze This” is directed by Harold Ramis, the man who crafted “Groundhog Day” with Bill Murray, and who also played Murray’s best friend in Ivan Reitman’s “Stripes” (1981), about two idiots who join the Army in search of women and quick cash. Here, in what is literally one of his roughest and filthiest films, Ramis is able to poke fun at all the most iconic stereotypes of Italian-American Mafia figures. There’s even a great dream sequence that mimics “The Godfather,” in which Sobel wanders towards a fruit stand to buy some oranges, and finds himself assassinated by two hit men, with De Niro doing his best impersonation of cry-baby Fredo. Later, when recounting his story to Vitti in a church, the Mafia kingpin asks him, “I was Fredo? I don’t think so.” It does indeed help to know a bit about Mafia movies before you see “Analyze This,” but even if you don’t, you’re still guaranteed to have a fun time.