Analyze ThisMarch 5, 1999
A comedy about a psychiatrist whose number one-patient is an insecure mob boss.
Release Year: 1999
Rating: 6.6/10 (68,667 voted)
Critic's Score: 61/100
Stars: Robert De Niro, Billy Crystal, Lisa Kudrow
Ben Sobol, Psychiatrist, has a few problems: His son spies on his patients when they open up their heart, his parents don't want to attend his upcoming wedding and his patients' problems don't challenge him at all. Paul Vitti, Godfather, has a few problems as well: Sudden anxiety attacks in public, a certain disability to kill people and his best part ceasing service when needed. One day, Ben unfortunately crashes into one of Vitti's cars. The exchange of Ben's business card is followed by a business visit of Don Paul Vitti himself, who wants to be free of inner conflict within two weeks, before all the Mafia Dons meet. Now, Ben Sobol feels somewhat challenged, as his wedding is soon, his only patient keeps him busy by regarding Ben's duty as a 24 hour standby and the feds keep forcing him to spy on Paul Vitti. And how do you treat a patient who usually solves problems with a gun?
Writers: Kenneth Lonergan, Peter Tolan
Robert De Niro
Dr. Ben Sobel
Laura MacNamara Sobel
Young Vitti Sr.
Young Dominic Manetta
(as Joe Rigano)
Richard C. Castellano
(as Richard Castellano)
Dr. Isaac Sobel
New York's most powerful gangster is about to get in touch with his feelings. YOU try telling him his 50 minutes are up.
Release Date: 5 March 1999
Filming Locations: Bal Harbour, Florida, USA
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: $18,383,507
(7 March 1999)
(18 July 1999)
Did You Know?
Martin Scorsese was first approached to direct the film but turned it down.
Vitti's two children disappear immediately after he introduces them.
Dr. Ben Sobel:
You know normally a patient wouldn't have a vat of Scotch during a session.
Robert DeNiro and Billy Crystal form the perfect shtick. *** out of ****.
ANALYZE THIS / (1999) ***
It has been a long time since I have seen a comic duo form a better shtick
than Robert DeNiro and Billy Crystal in the mob comedy "Analyze This," a
smart, amusing satire from director Harold Ramis ("Multiplicity," "Groundhog
Day"). For a movie like this to succeed past a commercial level, chemistry
between the main characters must be amiable and spirited. Crystal and DeNiro
indeed mold amiable incentive between themselves, therefore quite a few
hilarious moments emerge from their perception of the well-written script by
Kenneth Lonergan, Peter Tolan, and Ramis himself.
"Analyze This" details the lives of two very different individuals. The
first person is played by Billy Crystal, a calm, cool, and collected
psychiatrist named Ben Sobol, who is divorced with a young teenage son and
is engaged to soon wed a resigning TV reporter named Laura MacNamara (Lisa
Kudrow). Ben is currently dealing with a emotional patient (Molly Shannon)
distressed because her spouse left and filed a restraining order on her.
This woman's problems will seem like nothing when Ben obtains his new
Robert DeNiro plays the second person this movie examines, the most
powerful mobster in the city of New York, Paul Vitti. He and his
accomplices, including a chubby and clumsy bodyguard named Jelly (Joe
Viterelli), are in the process of significant business when Vitti
experiences an anxiety attack. On the road to a nervous breakdown, this
emotionally vulnerable man comes to Ben after Jelly briefly encounters the
therapist during a minor car accident. Ben is very nervous with his new
patient, who forces compliments and demands upon him.
The first confrontation sequence between Ben and Paul is quite engaging.
There is an instant odd couple chemistry among the two characters. The witty
sessions Sobol and Vitti consummate are also very imaginative and smart. The
scenes also have the intelligence to take Vitti's emotional problems
The setup accurately introduces both the gangsters and the psychiatrist's
family. We understand the mob boss's feelings of stress and depression; this
picture is not all shallow slapstick comedy, there is a dimensional human
touch. The film takes its conflicts seriously, but executes them in a cute
humorous style. The audience can also relate to Billy Crystal's character,
who is an average Joe with a typical American family in a complicated
situation in which he is not entirely sure how to handle.
Both external and internal conflicts are interestingly accomplished, well
structured, presented, and written. The film does a good job of convincingly
bringing the world of mobsters to life with well-cast actors and their rich,
Paul Vitti's sexual life needed more exploration; although his adulterous
intentions do induce a few laughs, the story could have gone somewhere with
his infidelity. Vitti's family is also irresolute. The film almost never
portrays them on screen and seldom does Paul himself discuss his children
and wife. The Lisa Kudrow character is furthermore underwritten, never
thoroughly examined and very shallow. The lack of chemistry amid Kudrow and
Crystal leads to the unconvincing relationship Ben occupies.
Robert DeNiro is the perfect option for the comic role of Paul Vitti, who
is a more difficult character than it may appear. DeNiro triggers a sharp
comic edge and gives the right amount of exaggerated sentimentality to
Vitti. Lisa Kudrow is fun to watch, producing a dim-minded character
whimsically similar to the one in her hit TV sitcom "Friends." Chazz
Palminteri and Joe Viterelli contribute different but energetic supporting
"Analyze This" is unmistakably the right kind of movie for Billy Crystal. I
am unaware of another Hollywood comedian who could have conquered his role
with more proficiency and mirth; he is one of the main components that makes
"Analyze This" work well. Harold Ramis's comedy obviously borrows ideas from
past comparable films like "Grosse Point Blank" and "Mafia," but as this
production proves, just because it was done before doesn't mean it cannot be
successfully accomplished again with the right casting.