Analyze That

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

No one really saw the sequel that was coming from the pseudo-hit of 1999. Yes, Analyze That wasn’t too anticipated and maybe that’s why I found it such a surprise and a delight to watch. Robert DeNiro, in recent years, has eeked away from his dramatic roots and has given comedy a shot (except for his outing with Martin Scorsese in The King of Comedy, but even that had very dramatic overtones). In films like Showtime, Meet the Parents and the film’s predecessor Analyze This; we see a side of Mr. DeNiro that most of us didn’t know existed. And, to put it bluntly, he is funny! Reprising the role of mob boss Paul Vitti; he and Billy Crystal seem to have some real chemistry on the camera. Crystal, ironically known for his comedy, plays the same, straight-laced Dr. Sobel who is the yin to DeNiro’s yang. Audiences weren’t kind to this sequel last Christmas, so could the film find new life on DVD? It has with me…

As mentioned above, Paul Vitti (DeNiro) has been incarcerated in Sing Sing prison. He attempts to contact his old pal, Dr. Sobel (Crystal) and when he’s hung up on, he apparently goes insane. Belting out tunes from West Side Story we don’t know if he really is wack-o (pardon the pun) or is just pretending to get out of the slammer. Naturally the latter is true and it’s not long that Vitti finds himself in the custody of Sobel. But the word on the street is that Vitti is out of the joint and now everyone is trying to kill him. So what’s a mob boss to do? In a somewhat delightful casting job, the rival boss is played by none other than Cathy Moriarty (DeNiro’s co-star in Raging Bull. Looking good on the outside and evil as hell on the inside, she is his nemesis from beginning to end. Lisa Kudrow reprises her role as Mrs. Sobel, the nagging wife of Ben. But she’s kind of worn out her welcome here and is more of a distraction than an attraction in the film.

Analyze That had me laughing out loud more than once, which is more that I recall doing the first time around. Since the original, we’ve been introduced to a little show alled The Soprano’s (i.e. mob boss with psychological issues); so the change of pace allows for more comedy from DeNiro and Crystal and less of the actual typical mob-like violence that we’ve become so accustomed to. Don’t get me wrong, it does have its moments; but this is more of a comedy and the violence is meant as comic relief as opposed to a moment of drama. Again, I have to say that DeNiro is actually really funny here and the rest of the cast (that wasn’t killed in the original) is back for more of the same. I highly doubt there will be a Part III to this, but you never know…for fans of the movie and of Robert DeNiro, this merits at least a rental and the disc has just enough special features to make it worth the while to purchase.

Video: How does it look?

Like the original, this sports a 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer and while its predecessor was one of the first really “good” special editions of the format, this doesn’t have a lot of supplemental material to crowd up the disc and compromise the image. So why does it look just “good”? I don’t know. The vast majority of the movie has a great level of detail, sharpness and edge enhancement are right on target. However, a number of the opening scenes just didn’t seem to strike me as being all that great. There seemed to be some artifacting here and there that just didn’t seem consistent with that of a new Warner release. True, I’m being picky here, but that’s what I’m supposed to do. Most viewers will be happy, but I have to say that I was expecting a bit more…

Audio: How does it sound?

The included Dolby Digital 5.1 track doesn’t really disappoint. Then again, comedies don’t have a lot going on in the audio department. There are a few shootout scenes (consistent with most “mob” movies) and the dialogue and surround effects are right on target with what they’re supposed to be. Again, there really isn’t a lot to say here as the disc is new to DVD and good-sounding Dolby Digital tracks are becoming more and more harder to differentiate. The audio doesn’t disappoint, but don’t expect a whole lot. Every joke can be heard and that’s the important thing…

Supplements: What are the extras?

There aren’t a lot of supplements here, but the engaging commentary track by Harold Ramis might make some of the consumers happy. Ramis, who directed my favorite film of all-time, Caddyshack, isn’t that talkative (in fact, he sounds like he’s had a few valiums), but he does deliver a rather informative track here. He tells of shots used, locations, etc. but despite being a solo track, he does manage to fill it very well. Next up is the standard “documentary” which is actually just an EPK of the making of the movie. They talk with the stars, how it’s been four years since the original and so on. Nothing much to expect here except the same ‘ol, same ‘ol. The M.A.D.E. (Mafioso Associate Degree Program) is a text-based multiple choice exam that tells you if you have “what it takes” to become a mobster. A neat feature, but it gets really old really fast. There are some cast and crew bios, a theatrical trailer and some DVD-ROM content rounds out the special features. A nice little disc that I found very entertaining and fans should as well.

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