Analyze That (2002)
Dir: Harold Ramis
Crazier = funnier… nope.
I saw the original film, ‘Analyze This’ last year on TV, and so had been looking to watch this when it was on, but it’s such a shame. I hate how when a film has a great original idea and would be perfectly fine when left as a stand-alone, it ends up forced into a sequel or even trilogy when there’s no need.
‘Analyze This’ was a 1999 comedy about a mafia boss (Robert De Niro) who starts having anxiety attacks, and so seeks the help of a shrink (Billy Crystal). It was genuinely funny and had such a smart premise. This has at the root of it the same characters, but messes up the premise with all sorts of extra rubbish, and spoils what worked originally.
Through the film they repeat a small gag line that grieving is a process, somehow thinking that by repeating the line again and again that in itself will make it into a joke. It’s indicative of the whole film, thinking that by using the characters again in a second film that it will just inevitably be funny, but it’s wrong. There are a few good moments, but sadly that’s all they are, and so the rest is strung together with a far more implausible plot, and such a lot more off-colour humour that really doesn’t work. The joke of someone’s robe coming undone and flashing a room of people, it’s been done to death and just isn’t funny anymore. Somehow the writers thought that by throwing a heist in there too it would make things more exciting or raise the level of the story to something better, but again no, that fails.
If you want to see Robert De Niro with mental health problems, just watch ‘Analyze This’, or better still watch ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ which sees him at his absolute best, delivering on all counts of a quality performance that’s heart-warmingly funny, and a really refreshing portrayal of mental illness.