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Analyze This

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Analyze This

Starring: Robert De Niro, Billy Crystal
Director: Harold Ramis
Rated: R
RunTime: 86 Minutes
Release Date: March 1999
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Lisa Kudrow, Molly Shannon

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Review by Susan Granger
4 stars out of 4

When a New York Mob boss starts having panic attacks and secretly seeks out a suburban psychiatrist what you get is one of the most inventive, original comedies in years. Robert De Niro is terrific as the powerful, domineering gangster, Paul Vitti, whose paralyzing anxiety is preventing him from assuming his role as leader of his crime family. And Billy Crystal has never been better than as the divorced psychotherapist, Dr. Sobel, with a young son and a determined fiancee ("Friends" Lisa Kudrow) he's about to marry. "What is my goal?" he asks. "To make you a happy, well-adjusted gangster?" Despite Dr. Sobel's understandable terror of his new patient, he's gamely determined to unravel the mystery of Vitti's childhood and make him healthy enough to cope with an all-important Mafia meeting - in just two weeks. Cleverly directed as a fable with Damon Runyon overtones by Harold Ramis ("Groundhog Day") from a wickedly amusing screenplay by Peter Tolan, Howard Ramis and Kenneth Lonergan, this movie offers a rollicking good time, balancing drama, suspense, and action, as Vitti's psychological troubles have the audience literally howling with laughter. The key, of course, is that the problems (fear, grief, rage, and guilt) are firmly grounded in reality and De Niro's willingness to poke fun at the screen persona that he has created over the years, along with Crystal's amusing reactions to the conflicts. Their sense of timing is flawless, and the humor is deeply inherent in each of their characters. Chazz Palminteri and Joseph Viterelli ring true in supporting roles. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Analyze This" is a devilishly clever, utterly hilarious 10, the first genuine comedy hit of 1999.

Copyright 2000 Susan Granger

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