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IN SHORT: They took the money... and ran. [Rated R for language and some sexual content. 98 minutes]
Consider how funny Analyze This was: It allowed star Robert De Niro to utterly shatter the tough guy image he's been carrying for years, even as he played a tough guy mobster. It was funny enough to make us want to see more.
Now that we have, once was enough.
That is not to say that Analyze That isn't funny. When it occasionally hits, it hits out of the ball park. Most of the time, though, it is stuffed with all the same old stuff -- four letter words, generic dumb thugs and our stars pointing fingers at each other and speaking in worshipful tones... "You -- You -- You are good" ad nauseam.
Analyze That buries a recap of the salient points of Analyze This in dialog but if you miss that, it isn't hard to pick up the pieces of the story. In Analyze This, Robert De Niro, as mobster "Big" Paul Vitti, floored us by tossing any and all mobster stereotypes aside and weeping openly. In Analyze That, after two and a half years (or 850 long nights) in the stir, Vitti is well on his way to post parole third floor walkup apartment in the East Village, where he can warble his favorite Broadway show tunes -- he's partial to West Side Story -- to his heart's delight. When Vitti isn't trodding the boards, so to speak, he's in a catatonic stupor. Multiple murder attempts on his person have stressed him into a schizoid state. Feds summon Doctor Ben Sobel (Billy Crystal), himself stressed out at the passing of his famed father, to examine the mobster.
We'll skip those details as they're still funny. Net result? Ben is dubbed a Temporary Federal Institution and given four weeks to get Vitti in shape for his parole hearing. The Feds actually want Vitti out of the slammer; they hope he's faking because there's a mob war brewing and Vitti is a loose cannon. If both sides destroy each other, and Vitti along the way, the Feds can just sweep up the pieces and voila, no more organized crime!
Vitti, of course, has his own plans involving the two mob families and Doctor Ben will, of course, find himself involved, even as he tries to get his house guest into any kind of legal occupation. Those attempts are funny enough to fill a television commercial which, if you've seen it, you've seen it. Eventually, which means after a painfully long and unfunny length of time, Vitti hooks up as an advisor to a mob themed television show called Little Caesar produced by Raoul Berman (Reg Rogers) and starring genuine authentic Italian Anthony LaPaglia. The actor, not his character and telling you more would spoil one of the few lame (meaning almost but not quite funny) gags remaining in the film.
Those who loved the first one are going to make big business for the second because everybody knows that us reviewers exist only to hate things which are obviously going to be popular. Your box office dollar could fuel a third film, obviously to be called Analyze The Other Thing and we'll sit for that one if it happens. We can certainly hope for miracles but, if you missed Analyze This, you should miss Analyze That as well. Rent the far superior and much, much funnier original.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Analyze That, he would have paid . . .
The set up works. The big scheme that wraps the show almost works but everything else flops. Rent Analyze That in the cheapest part of the week possible.
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