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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Analyze That
Analyze That
Warner Bros. // PG-13 // May 13, 2003
List Price: $26.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted May 7, 2003 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

In 1999, "Analyze This" became a surprise hit, ranking in box office success with a combination of strong word-of-mouth, the pairing of Deniro and Crystal and positive reviews. Personally, I wasn't much of a fan, but the picture moved along well enough and the pairing of the two leads brought some solid laughs. The film's sequel, "Analyze That", is a perfect example of why not everything successful really needs to be made into a sequel - this one feels recycled - a familiar story with some unbelievable concepts on the side.

As the picture opens, Ben Sobol (Billy Crystal) is trying to handle the loss of his father and mob boss Paul Vitti (Robert De Niro) is in jail. Shortly after, Vitti seems to have lost his mind, singing showtunes in jail and convincing the staff that he's possibly nuts. Their idea? Transfer him out of prison and into the custody of Sobol, whose new wife (Lisa Kudrow) isn't too pleased with the idea of having Vitti in the house. Their reason? So that they can tail Vitti and possibly arrest those he used to work with.

Convinced that someone's trying to kill him, Vitti tries to find a new life for himself, trying out a series of regular jobs (a series of bits showing Vitti at various jobs is only funny because Deniro's timing is so good) before finding a gig doing consulting on a "Sopranos"-ish show. Amazingly enough, "That" doesn't choose to really do anything with this subplot or, really, any of the other plots, for that matter. Although I will say that the film did manage to pass by fairly quickly (there are some decent lines and bits scattered about), the lack of much of an actual story starts to become terribly apparent after about thirty minutes in.

As long as the film is at least attempting humor - whether successful or not - it passes by well enough. It's when the film tries to attempt drama - issues that Ben has with his father, for example - that it starts to drag. Why the film works as well as it does is largely because of Deniro. He seems to have a better idea of the character and his comedic timing has gotten even better since the actor first started a streak of comedies with the first "Analyze" picture a few years ago. Crystal is funny here as well, but he doesn't seem to have as much to do and the chemistry between the two leads isn't quite as good as it was in the first film.

Overall, "This" is better than "That", but while "That" wasn't too bad, this was still a disappointment.


The DVD

VIDEO: "Analyze That" is presented by Warner Brothers in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Although Harold Ramis has never had a terribly noticable visual style, he has at least chosen to work with some more noteworthy cinematographers, such as Bill Pope (for "Bedazzled") and, for this picture, Ellen Kuras ("Blow"). The presentation by Warner Brothers can look terrific at times, but there are some minor concerns in a few scenes. Sharpness and detail varied a bit throughout the movie - while most scenes looked crisp and well-defined, some scenes could slightly lack the depth and detail of the remainder.

The picture suffered from a few minor concerns. Edge enhancement wasn't an issue throughout the program, but I did notice some light artifacting on a couple of occasions. The print also showed a speckle or two, but nothing serious at all. The film's vivid color palette looked bright and nicely saturated, with no flaws. Black level remained solid, as well.

SOUND: "Analyze That" is presented by Warner Brothers in Dolby Digital 5.1. The film's soundtrack is purely a "comedy" presentation - the front speakers do the great majority of the work, with the surrounds really only kicking in for one or two ambient sounds and some minimal reinforcement of the score. Speaking of the score, that's really the best thing about the film's audio - although David Holmes's score sounds rather similar to his work in "Ocean's Eleven" at times, it's still a catchy piece of work. Dialogue and music remained crisp and clear.

EXTRAS:

Commentary: This is a commentary from director Harold Ramis, who has done a few commentaries in the past. This commentary once again has all the positives and negatives of a Ramis commentary. On the positive side, Ramis discusses his films honestly, with good humor and also, tries to be informative about the process. On the negative side, Ramis apparently gets caught up watching the movie at times, because he lets some fairly large gaps go at times without talking. For that reason, it's tough to recommend anything but a brief listen or a quick browse through the track.

Also: Short "making of" documentary, trailer and interactive Mafia quiz.

Final Thoughts: A rehash of the first film and not a particularly great one, but there are still the occasional laughs to be had. Warner Brothers has put together a fine DVD, with pleasant audio/video and supplements. Maybe worth a rental for those interested.

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