Monday, May 18, 2009

Movie #6: Analyze This

Analyze This is a riot...or perhaps it would be better to describe it as a Mob scene. Robert De Niro plays Paul Vitti, a powerful New York Mafia boss who is experiencing considerable anxieties in advance of a meeting of mob bosses from across the country. To deal with his problems, he decides he needs to see a psychiatrist-- and it just so happens that his right-hand man knows of one. Dr. Ben Sobel, played by Billy Crystal, is settled in a quiet family practice, and is just about to get married himself when the Mob comes knocking on the door. Before he knows it, Ben has been commandeered into the Family as Mr. Vitti's personal full-time psychiatrist, on call 24-7...and you try telling him no.

The ingrained satire of the plotline ensures that funny moments abound in this movie, starting with the dialogue between Ben and Paul. De Niro and Crystal play so well off each other as the tough-guy Mobster who keeps breaking down and the psychiatrist who just wants to be left to get married but is afraid he's going to get whacked. We all know that De Niro is the ultimate tough guy and that Crystal is a comic genius, but their interactions in Analyze This take it to high levels of comedy. There are some marginally touching moments, and some quasi-action sequences, but mostly Analyze This is a comedy, pure and simple. If you watch it as such, you'll love it-- especially if you're already into gangster-type movies.

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