Analyze That

Analyze That (2003)
Warner Home Video
Cast: Robert DeNiro, Billy Crystal, Lisa Kudrow, Joe Viterelli
Extras: Commentary Track, Featurette, Trivia, Trailer, Biographies

The odd couple is back. Director/writer Harold Ramis is reuniting Paul Vitti and Dr. Sobel – or Robert DeNiro and Billy Crystal, if that rings more of a bell. Continuing the hilarious story of "Analyze This," once again we are allowed to participate in the collision of the lives of mobster Paul Vitti and his unintentional psychotherapist.

During his little stay in jail, Paul Vitti (Robert DeNiro) suddenly becomes the target of various assassination attempts. They are enough to make even this mobster snap. As a result he swings between two moods. He’s either catatonic, or he is singing songs from West Side Story. The jail officials bring in Dr. Sobel (Billy Crystal) to evaluate Vitti’s condition and release him into his custody when he determines that Vitti is in fact in serious psychological trouble. Or is he, really? As soon as Sobel puts Vitti in his car to take him home, his condition seems to improve dramatically and before Sobel knows what happened to him, his life is once again (over)run by Vitti and his mob friends. Only this time, Vitti is trying to make a point that he is no longer part of the Mafia and their dirty work… hard to believe if you observe his daily antics as his psychiatrist.

"Analyze That" goes into a slightly different direction than "Analyze This," which help keep the material fresh and interesting. While in the first part we got to see Vitti’s soft side and his issues with running the cold-blooded Mafia business, this time around things are focusing a bit more on his macho attitude. He still lets his vulnerability shine through, but Sobel’s fight mostly concerns Vitti’s insensible lifestyle and commanding presence.
Once again the acting of the movie is superb giving you a fun-filled ride throughout. From the first to the last minute, the movie is filled with clever gags that never feel stale or out of place. The movie uses a lot of rough language, but in many cases it only adds to hilarity of the film as you can see characters hiding behind curse words because of their inability to otherwise communicate – something we can witness all too often in our everyday-lives, as a matter of fact. A number of characters from the previous movie return, including Lisa Kudrow as Dr. Sobel’s wife and Joe Viterelli as Jelly, Vitti’s humble personal assistant. The greatest new addition to the cast is certainly Cathy Moriarty, as the Godmother Patti LoPresti who has been trying to take over Vitti’s domain.

Warner Home Video is presenting "Analyze That" in a great <$PS,widescreen> transfer that is <$16x9,enhanced for 16x9> television sets on this DVD. The transfer is absolutely clean and free of defects or speckles and nothing mars the experience. Colors are vibrant, rich and beautifully rendered with flesh tones that are faithful, rendering a very natural looking image at all times. Blacks are solid and well-balanced, giving the image good visual depth with shadows that never lose definition. No distracting edge-enhancement is evident on the release and compression artifacts are not existent.

The DVD comes with <$5.1,5.1 channel> <$DD,Dolby Digital> audio tracks in English and French and both of them are faithfully reproduced on this DVD. Dialogues are well integrated and always understandable, without being drowned out at any point. The frequency response is wide with good basses and clear high ends, and the dynamic range is equally well-presented.

"Analyze That" comes with an insightful <$commentary,commentary track> by director Harold Ramis. Once again he manages to create a track that is equally entertaining and informative. Talking about the characters, their dilemmas, the cast and the production, Ramis manages to squeeze in a lot of technical information without ever appearing scholarly or dry.

The DVD contains a 10-minute behind-the-scenes featurette, complete with backstage footage form the set, as well as interview snippets with cast and crew members. It’s an entertaining bonus that gives you a good feeling for the atmosphere on the set and how some of the scenes and gags have come together.
"M.A.D.E." is a small trivia game style test to see if you have what it takes to become a mafioso. From interpreting ink blots to word associations and other mafia-isms, this sections is a fun little game to see how deep you are in trouble.

The release is rounded out by cast and crew biographies and the movie’s theatrical trailer.

"Analyze That" is a worthy sequel to the original movie. It is as inventive and just as flagrantly mocking as the first film, and it is one of the few installments where I actually wish we will hopefully see yet another installment in the future. DeNiro and Crystal are a great team on the screen and their characters throw sparks in every direction. If you enjoyed "analyze This," you have to see "Analyze That!"