De Niro Escape
Analyze That
Review by Ross Anthony

Every bit as funny as its predecessor "Analyze This."

Analyze That Opening with flair and finesse as title credits roll over a dark hypnotic painting, the camera slowly somberly widens, cranes left capturing a near-nude dancer at a strip-joint. This contrast of the contemplative and the visceral alone is enough to draw the viewer in and set them up perfectly for the teaming of shrink & thug (Crystal & De Niro). But the one-shot goes longer as a Mafia disagreement ends in bloodshed, we realize that this is only the taping of a TV series "Little Caesar" being viewed in prison by Paul Vitti and the rest of the inmates. Funny and profoundly strong filmmaking.

As the story progresses (Vitti is released in the custody of Doc) however, the profundity wanes dramatically, leaving in its wake (no pun intended) a great deal of the simply funny. De Niro and Crystal are both excellent and their pairing sparks a host of humor. Director co-writer Harold Ramos (of Ghostbusters) takes advantage by tossing the two in many many funny fertile situations. Actually, the quantity isn't a problem, it's the fleshing out. The film is A+ hilarious up to and including a marvelous prison clinic scene in which Crystal tests a catatonic De Niro for authenticity. The director and actors take their time, enjoying this sequence, drawing from it artfully all the humor there is to draw. Many of the other scenes flash in the pan; funny yes, but not tapped to their full potentials.

Even still, this is a fun and funny film. I'd have loved to see the filmmakers keep in a greater sense of the profound (deepen the bonds between these two men, etc.); had they, this would have been one of the best films of the year. Perhaps they'll take this advice for the third one. Oh and here's a title suggestion for that as well: "Analyze the Other Thing"

Stay for the credits, the bloopers are even funnier.

  • Analyze That. Copyright © 2002.
  • Starring Robert De Niro, Billy Crystal.
  • Directed by Harold Ramis.
  • Screenplay by Peter Steinfeld.
  • Produced by Barry Levinson, Paula Weinstein at Warner Bros.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:21:23 PDT