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Who knew Robert De Niro could be funny, let alone as funny as he is in ANALYZE THIS ($25). No, ANALYZE THIS isn’t as hilarious as a Farrelly Brothers outing, but this is a genuinely warm and winning send up of Mafia movies with a number of moments that will leave the viewer laughing uncontrollably. In ANALYZE THIS Robert De Niro portrays underworld boss Paul Vitti. Vitti is usually a tough son-of-a-gun, but a recent attempt on his life has left him shaken and subject to panic attacks. Of course in his line of work, Vitti knows that any sign of weakness will lead to his forced "retirement" from the "family" business.

Since Vitti needs help with his emotional problems, he winds up on the doorstep of psychiatrist Ben Sobol (Billy Crystal). As you might expect, Sobol is less than thrilled to take on a new patient who could kill him at any moment. Unfortunately, Sobol finds that he has no choice in the matter and is forced to accept Vitti as a patient. In order to treat Vitti’s problems, Sobol soon finds himself at the mobster’s beck and call 24 hours a day. Making matters worse is the fact that Vitti follows Sobol to Florida, where he interferes with the doctor’s impending nuptials.

In ANALYZE THIS, both De Niro and Crystal get their fair share of funny lines, however watching De Niro go on a crying jag, as the troubled mobster is hilarity itself. Lisa Kudrow also gets her share number of funny moments as Sobol’s fiancée Laura MacNamara. As Vitti’s rival Primo Sindone, Chazz Palminteri gives De Niro a run for his money in the tender art of spoofing mobsters. Director Harold Ramis applies a light touch that allows his actors to get the most out of the comic material.

Warner Home Video has made ANALYZE THIS available on DVD in both wide screen and full screen presentations on opposite sides of the disc. While the cropped presentation is fine for folks who don’t mind the visual equivalent of pay-per-view, the 16:9 enhanced wide screen version is definitely the better choice. The Letterboxed transfer restores the film’s 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio and provides a sharp, richly detailed image. Colors have excellent saturation, plus the flesh tones appear very healthy. There is no evidence of chroma noise or bleeding during the presentation. Blacks are faithfully rendered and contrast is right on the money. A first rate compression job disguises virtually all traces of artifacts.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack has a solid "comedy" mix that puts dialogue reproduction ahead of everything else- that way you can hear all the jokes. Still, there are some nice directional effects in the mix and the soundstage has a nice open sound. Gunfire is authoritative, thanks to the track’s solid bass reproduction. Additionally, music is superbly integrated into the mix. Subtitles are provided on the disc in English.

The interactive menus are nice looking and feature music, but remain rather simple in their implementation. Through the menu system, one can access the standard scene selection and set up features. Access to all of the supplements is also available through the DVD’s menus. Supplements for ANALYZE THIS features two audio commentaries; the first with actors Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal (who does most of the talking) and the second features director Harold Ramis. Both talks have their merits and will prove to be interesting, entertaining and occasionally amusing for fans of the movie. ANALYZE THIS also contains a humorous gag reel that highlights some of the best outtakes from the film. A theatrical trailer, plus cast biographies/filmographies round out the DVD’s array of supplements.


Analyze This (1999)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 1999 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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