Analyze That  (2002) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Act 1

You think it's difficult to maintain your marriage in times of extreme stress? The Lisa Kudrow character in this film has a challenge that will make your problems pale to insignificance. Her marriage is shaky to start with, then her husband's father dies. That adds to the stress but, no, that's not the biggest problem. The major issue is that she has a violent, temperamental, condescending mob boss as a house guest, and he comes complete with the usual gangster entourage of heavily-armed fat guys and chain-smoking floozies.

You see, somebody was trying to kill the mob boss (Robert De Niro) when he was in prison, and the FBI decided for some reason or another that they'd rather have this Godfather out on the streets with a 24/7 tail than dead in the slammer. He does them no good as a human target in prison, but on the streets he's likely to lead them to other bosses and operations. And if not? Well, the feds throw him into the midst of a gang war, and if a few more mobsters buy the farm because of that, no harm done, right? At the same time that the FBI was hatching this scheme, the crime boss had been pursuing his own plan to get out of prison - faking insanity. The first 15 minutes of the film consist mainly of Robert De Niro mincing around the jail, singing the entire musical score from West Side Story. You won't believe his version of "I Feel Pretty", in which he copies Natalie Wood's accent and mannerisms.

It's about time he used his acting genius for good instead of evil.

It suits both the FBI and the mobster to have him released into the custody of his shrink, Billy Crystal, whom you may remember from "Analyze This", the successful 1999 film which generated the characters in "Analyze That". Although the feds and the wiseguy are happy with the arrangement, Crystal is not thrilled at all, and his wife is downright ugly about it, especially after De Niro spends his first night out of prison wildly rutting away with a hooker in the guest bedroom. The 'tute's fake pleasure is approximately as subtle and refined as a pack of hungry coyotes.

To be frank, neither the FBI nor De Niro really want the gangster to be in Crystal's house, but there is a false public pretext for the mobster's release. He will "undergo psychotherapy and seek honest employment".

Act 2

Crystal doesn't know any of the hidden nuances of the release, so he sincerely works to reform De Niro and integrate him into legitimate employment. Unfortunately the manners and temperament of a gangster are not really suited to the more socially acceptable forms of employment normally available to a high school drop out.

Car salesman De Niro: "You want da fuckin' car or not?" 

Shocked suburban couple: "Could we talk to the boss?"

De Niro: "Here's da boss, right here". (Grabs crotch)


De Niro finally finds the perfect job, as "technical advisor" to a TV show like The Sopranos. He's surprised to find that the star is an Australian (Anthony LaPaglia, who really is an Aussie), and the director is a "really a theater man", if you catch my drift.  De Niro brings in a few of "da boys", and the show's realism is soon stepped up several notches.

Act 3

DeNiro does get into trouble. He plans a massive, unprecedented heist, never intending to keep the money, but simply to frame a rival gang with the evidence. The heist gets a bit confusing when the real bad guys get intermingled with the actors playing bad guys in the TV show, which seems to be filming on the escape route.

  • Act 3 is humdrum, and virtually humorless, although the last minute or two were a lot of fun.
  • Act 2 is wildly underdeveloped. It should have been hilarious. First you have a mob boss working in low-level "straight jobs", then that same gangster is trying to teach a bunch of actors how to be mobsters. The premise was great, but the execution was limp.


No nudity, but it is a sexy r-rated movie with dirty talk and teases. The "R" rating was a given, because DeNiro must say some variation of the "f-word" more than 100 times.

There are two scenes set in strip clubs, but the strippers never get past the bikini stage.

dvd release date is unannounced
  • But, In my opinion, the entire movie is really worth watching because of Act 1, in which DeNiro is, as his character might put it, fuckin' hilarious. Who could have dreamed a decade ago that Robert De Niro would be the best comic actor in America today?

The Critics Vote

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The People Vote ...

  • with their dollars: opens December 6th

Other ...

IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, C- overall, but B for the first 30 minutes, C- for the middle, D for the finale. The opening is one of the funniest half hours of comedy in the past five years, but the film just keeps disintegrating. The middle has a few sporadic laughs. The last third is drab.

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