[Screen It]


(1999) (Robert De Niro, Billy Crystal) (R)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Mild Minor Extreme Minor Extreme
Mild Minor None None Extreme
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Heavy Moderate Minor Minor Extreme

Comedy: A family psychiatrist reluctantly and nervously takes on a new client -- a mafioso who's suffering from anxiety attacks.
Ben Sobel (BILLY CRYSTAL) is a divorced New York psychiatrist whose biggest concerns are a teenage son, Michael (KYLE SABIHY), who tries to analyze him, a successful father of whom he's jealous, and the fact that he's soon getting married to Laura MacNamara (LISA KUDROW), a TV reporter. All of that changes when he accidentally runs into a car driven by some mobsters, and by habit gives them his business card.

It turns out they work for Paul Vitti (ROBERT DE NIRO), one of the city's most powerful gangsters who's about to take over the crime family after his mentor was gunned down by a rival gang. The problem is, Vitti's suddenly afflicted with panic attacks. Knowing that his rivals, including Primo Sindone (CHAZZ PALMINTERI), will smell his hesitation and uncertainty and try to take advantage of that, Vitti reluctantly goes to Ben for help.

Fearing for his life, Ben is also reluctant and hesitant to take on Vitti as one of his patients, but after a little persuasion, agrees to see what he can do for him before a big meeting of all of the mob bosses.

From that point on, and as he tries to get married to Laura, Ben must contend with Vitti and his henchmen, Jelly (JOE VITERELLI) and Jimmy (RICHARD CASTELLANO), who show up at the worst times to retrieve him for their boss, as well as the Feds who've become aware of his apparent ties to the mob.

Preteens won't, but teens who are fans of De Niro or Crystal probably will.
For language, a scene of sexuality and some violence.
  • ROBERT DE NIRO plays an anxiety stricken mobster who cusses a lot, cheats on his wife, and upends Ben's life without caring what havoc he's causing.
  • BILLY CRYSTAL plays a psychiatrist who reluctantly agrees to help the mafioso (and even removes a wire he's wearing to help the gangster). Along the way he cusses some and spends the night with his fiancÚ.


    OUR TAKE: 6.5 out of 10
    Despite their worries about being typecast, certain movie and TV actors are and will forever be associated with particular roles or certain types of characters that they've played in their careers. John Wayne is the cowboy, as is Clint Eastwood when he's not Dirty Harry or any other squinty- eyed, no-nonsense tough guy. William Shatner will forever be Captain Kirk, and Carroll O'Connor will always be Archie Bunker.

    Then there's Robert De Niro who's known for playing the quietly intense, but ready to burst tough guy character, often in the form of someone involved in organized crime. From his parts in "The Godfather, Part II," as well as "Goodfellas," "Casino," "The Untouchables" and "Once Upon a Time in America," De Niro has mesmerized, entertained, and often frightened audiences with his intense, serious depictions of mob figures.

    Thus, who better to play a mob boss who's having a nervous breakdown and is uncertain of his ability to run the "family?" In a wonderfully daffy spin on his "normal" characterizations, De Niro is delightful and funny as Paul Vitti, the anxiety stricken, prone to break down and cry at the sight of any sentimental commercial mobster. The gifted actor has done the comedic route before (in "Midnight Run"), but excels here simply because the part's perfectly written and he's spoofing the characters and the genre that have made him famous.

    While the film -- as written and directed by Harold Ramis ("Groundhog Day," "Ghostbusters") and co-written by Peter Tolan ("My Fellow Americans") and Kenneth Lonergan (the upcoming "Rocky and Bullwinkle" picture) -- doesn't go the parody route found in last year's "Mafia!," there are plenty of mob movie-related jokes to go around.

    From general characterizations to an amusing scene with a guy in a car trunk and a clever dream spoof of -- and insider joke regarding -- a scene from "The Godfather" (to which De Niro comments "I was Fredo? I don't think so") the film offers enough humorous or downright funny moments to keep the audience entertained.

    While those and other bits -- some of which are hilarious, while others elicit just a chuckle or two -- are moderately plentiful, the greatest fault with the film is its plot. After the initial -- and quite clever -- premise is introduced, the film continually repeats the same gag of Vitti or his thugs interrupting or abducting the nervous and then irritated psychiatrist at improper, embarrassing, or irritating moments. While the first such occurrences regarding that are funny, after a while the novelty is gone and we begin hoping for something more.

    Unfortunately, nothing great follows that. Instead, a weakly constructed plot involving the involvement of some Feds and a rival mafioso (played with serious, but uninspired intensity by Chazz Palminteri) as well as Ben's "race" to cure Vitti before a big mob convention are all that's offered, and relatively little of that is overly interesting or that funny. In addition, we get to see De Niro cry/sob several times, and while that's obviously played for laughs -- and is only successful the final time -- it never comes across as realistic (no matter how good an actor De Niro is) -- even for a comedy.

    Fortunately, the chemistry between De Niro and Billy Crystal ("City Slickers," "When Harry Met Sally) is just right and the two get many opportunities to cleverly play their characters off one another that includes some funny exchanges of dialogue.

    For Crystal's fans, the good news is that the comedian does his normal nervous Nelly shtick with bits of bravado thrown in, while the bad news is that the comedian does his normal nervous Nelly shtick with bits of bravado thrown in. That's right -- while the "routine" is enjoyable and often funny, he's done it countless times before and thus doesn't bring anything new to this dance.

    Supporting performances vary, with Lisa Kudrow (TV's "Friends") and Palminteri ("A Bronx Tale") getting surprisingly short amounts of screen time (considering the marriage and rival gang subplots), while Joseph Viterelli ("Mafia!" "Eraser") gets some of the film's funnier moments and bits of dialogue all to himself.

    With a great cast and an inspired and occasionally quite funny premise, "Analyze This" is an amusing film that should entertain audiences as long as they don't follow the film's instructional title too closely. Although it's a shame the underlying plot isn't as strong or clever as the characters and their humorous interactions, there's enough funny stuff here to make this an instant crowd pleaser. While it could have been better, we still give "Analyze This" a 6.5 out of 10.

    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated comedy. Profanity is extreme with 80+ "f" words along with an assortment of other words and phrases. Violence, although often played for laughs, is also extreme due to several people being shot and/or killed, but there's hardly any blood or gore.

    We see a sexual encounter that includes movement and related sounds, but don't see any nudity. Other sexually related discussions and/or comments, however, also occur. Some drinking and smoking is also present in the film, and the bad attitudes category (although often played for laughs) also gets an extreme rating.

    While it's hard to say how much of a draw Crystal and De Niro are for the under 18 crowd, you may want to take a closer look at the listed content should you still be concerned with the film's appropriateness.

  • Some people have wine at a book signing party.
  • Vitti pours himself a large glass of Scotch and drinks it.
  • At a party where others are drinking, Laura asks Ben if he wants another drink and then adds, "Because I'm going to have eight or nine" (apparently due to the tension of Ben meeting her family).
  • People have champagne at a wedding.
  • Ben and Vitti (and his thugs) have wine with their meal.
  • Responding to a client's comments about her husband's sexual needs, Ben tells her (among other things) "Smoke some joints. Drink some wine. Do whatever it takes to make you happy..."
  • Gangsters have wine at a big mobster meeting.
  • During the opening credits we see a black and white photo of a man who's been shot and wounded and has blood on the top of his jacket.
  • There's some scatological humor as Ben rips off the wire taped to his chest while sitting in a bathroom stall and reacting with pained sounds, causing Jelly to think he's straining for another reason and suggest that he add more fiber to his diet.
  • We see a tiny bit of blood on Ben's suit from being shot in the shoulder during a big shootout.
  • Vitti has both for being a mobster and for having a mistress (although it's all played for laughs). He also doesn't care that he nearly ruins Ben's life.
  • Some viewers may not appreciate the line where Vitti tells Ben, "If I talk to you and you turn me into a fag, I'm gonna kill you."
  • Primo has both for being an angry mobster who wants Vitti dead and some of his thugs kill some of Vitti's associates.
  • Some viewers may not appreciate a scene where Vitti, after bawling his eyes out, says "Put a pair of t*ts on me and call me a woman."
  • Some Feds alter a audiotape (making Vitti sound as if he's ready to kill) to convince Ben to assist them.
  • Although there's never a doubt that they're not going to shoot him, Vitti and his men take Ben out to a deserted area, hold their guns on him and act as if they're going to shoot him (which a few people might find as a little tense).
  • Likewise, some shootout scenes may be a tiny bit tense to some viewers.
  • Handguns/Machine guns: Used to threaten, wound or kill people. See "Violence" for details.
  • Phrases: "Shut the f*ck up," "Piece of sh*t," "Holy sh*t," "Hard-on" (sexual), "Scumbag," "Loser," "Idiot," "Moron," "Screwed up," "Bastard," "Rat bastard," "Fag," "Schmuck," "Piss," "Balls" (testicles), "Nuts" (crazy), "Screwing around" (nonsexual) and "Shut up."
  • Ben's car suddenly crashes into the back of another car (to the surprise of them and the audience).
  • The sound of sudden machine gun fire may startle some people.
  • None.
  • None.
  • At least 83 "f" words (3 used with "mother," 2 used sexually), 21 "s" words, 6 terms using male genitals ("pr*ck," "d*ck" and "c*cksucker"), 1 slang term for breasts ("t*ts"), 4 asses (1 used with"hole"), 2 hells, 2 S.O.B.'s, and 3 uses of "Oh my God," 2 each of "G-damn," "Swear to God" and "My God," and 1 use each of "For Christ's sakes," "Jesus," "Oh God" and "For God's sakes" as exclamations.
  • We see some momentary glimpses of women in skimpy bikinis.
  • We hear a woman's sexual sounds and see movement under the sheets as Vitti has sex with his mistress (no nudity). He then complains about her talking distracting him, so she then gets on top of him and we see more movement and hear more sounds.
  • We see Ben and Laura sleeping in bed together (but don't see them doing anything other than sleeping).
  • Vitti confesses to Ben that he has a problem "getting it up" and that it's happened to him several times. He then goes on to say that a "hard-on should come on legitimately or shouldn't come on at all" after Ben says that there are pills for that sort of problem. Vitti then comments on Ben only be interested in hearing women "piss and moan about not being f*cked anymore."
  • When Ben asks Vitti why he needs a mistress when he already has a wife, Vitti responds that her mouth is the same one she uses to kiss their children with (suggesting what his mistress does with her mouth).
  • After mentioning the oedipal complex, Vitti disgustingly says "So what are you saying, that I want to f*ck my mother?"
  • The camera briefly focuses on the bare breasts of a statue on an elaborate fountain that Ben finds at his house.
  • Ben listens to a client say that her husband wants her to "please him while we're in bed. Whatever I do doesn't seem like it's enough. Now he wants me to say things while we're making love....He wants me to call him big boy...He's my bucking bronco...And I'm supposed to ride him hard and then put him back in the barn wet."
  • Jelly smokes several times as do other mobsters.
  • Vitti occasionally talks about his father dying when he was just a boy and the guilt he feels about that.
  • The mob and that most gangsters aren't funny guys as depicted in this film.
  • The violence used in the film for humor.
  • While the following is often quite violent, some of it's played for laughs.
  • During the opening credits we see some black and white photos of people who've been shot and/or killed.
  • A mobster aims his gun at a cow to make it move away from his car.
  • In a flashback we see Vitti's father "hijacking" a farm tractor at gunpoint.
  • Rival mobsters do a drive by machine gun shooting where Vitti's mentor is killed (but there's no blood).
  • One of Vitti's men slaps a rival gang member on the back of the head several times, while Vitti appears ready to hit the man with a metal pipe, but never does. One of his thugs, however, punches the man at the end of the scene.
  • Ben accidentally slams his car into the back of a mobster's car. We then see a gagged and bound man in the now exposed trunk and the driver walks up and punches that man to keep him quiet.
  • We hear the comical sounds of Vitti and Jelly roughing up a doctor who said that Vitti suffers from anxiety attacks.
  • Primo states that he wants Vitti dead.
  • Laura's father tells Ben that if he does anything to hurt her after they're married, that he'll hunt him down and kill him.
  • A rival mobster walks up and shoots a bodyguard in the chest several times (we see the bullet holes in the clothes, but no blood). He then slowly goes after Vitti, but Jelly grabs him, they struggle, the gun goes off several times, and Jelly smashes the guy into the wall and then beats this man over the head several times with a club. We finally see the man fall to his death from several stories up (but the impact is not seen).
  • After Ben tells Vitti that he hits a pillow when he's mad, Vitti pulls out his gun and repeatedly shoots a pillow.
  • In a dream sequence, some men run up and shoot Ben several times.
  • Vitti and his thugs hold their guns on Ben as if they're going to shoot him.
  • Two rival gangsters show up and open fire on Ben, Vitti and his thugs with machine guns. One of Vitti's men is shot and wounded, while Jelly and eventually Ben return the gunfire and the two thugs are finally shot and presumably killed.
  • To act tough in front of other mobsters, Ben violently slaps Jelly several times.
  • Primo pulls out his gun and prepares to shoot Ben, but is interrupted before doing so.
  • Ben gets shot in the shoulder during a shootout where many guns are fired between rival mobsters.

  • Reviewed February 25, 1999 / Posted March 5, 1999

    Other new and recent reviews include:

    [Around the World in 80 Days] [Family Camp] [Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness]

    Privacy Statement and Terms of Use and Disclaimer
    By entering this site you acknowledge to having read and agreed to the above conditions.

    All Rights Reserved,
    ©1996-2022 Screen It, Inc.