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Analyze This

One can only imagine the giddy power-breakfast when Analyze This was first pitched: "Billy Crystal is an aloof psychiatrist whose life is turned upside down when he has to secretly treat Robert De Niro, who's a mob boss suffering from anxiety attacks! And it's a comedy!" But, while the final result is a generally amusing movie, Analyze This never really hits the high marks it reaches for. Essentially a string of set-ups and gags built around its one-note premise, only a handful of laugh-out-loud moments are found in the film, which milks its contrived plot for everything its worth — and them some. Crystal gets in a few of his trademark wisecracks, but it's become clear by now that he really has just one leading role in his repertoire, and his Dr. Ben Sobel differs little from his other well-known performances, such as in When Harry Met Sally and Running Scared. De Niro is a much fresher presence, taking many liberties with his popular wiseguy persona, and his best moments come not from funny lines, but lines that he delivers with delicious timing. With a more inventive script, Analyze This could have been almost as good as Midnight Run — a film with similar characters but much better results that still remains De Niro's finest comic turn. Also starring Lisa Kudrow and Chazz Palminteri. Good transfer, DD 5.1, two commentary tracks, one with Crystal and De Niro, the other with director Harold Ramis, trailer, textual supplements.

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