Analyze This, Analyze That : Crystal And de Niro’s Comic Act

05 May

I am neither going to Analyze This nor Analyze That. Just pour my thoughts about these two movies that I saw back-to-back on Sunday evening. When AThis ended, I did have a smile on my face and was raring to watch AThat. But at the end of AThat, I was a lot disappointed. In fact, I felt that I should have kept AThat for another day and enjoyed the good humor of AThis; and ended my weekend on a happy note. Anyways, enough of this and that; lets get down to business.

Analyze This: I think most of us are already aware of the movie plot. But here’s a quick recap for the uninitiated. The movie is about a mafia Paul Vitti[Robert de Niro] who gets anxiety/panic attack and one of his henchman suggests that he meet-up with a shrink named Ben Sobel[Billy Crystal]. Ben asks a few insightful questions and brings relief to Vitti. The don is so impressed that he follows Ben all the way to Florida for another session, right in-between Ben’s wedding. His wedding-day is undone and Ben is exasperated by Vitti’s assertiveness. Nevertheless, he treats Vitti and reschedules his wedding. In the meantime he gets photographed by the CIA and they want Ben to report to them about Vitti’s moves. After a lot of fun, confusion and comic moments comes the climax where Vitti is ambushed and Ben takes a bullet shot to save Vitti. Ben lands in hospital and Vitti in jail.

The movie was really a fun watch. The beginning of the movie, where Ben is shown as a psychiatrist who is frustrated by his clients who come to him with their silly problems, sets the tone for the movie. The way Vitti keeps breaking into tears just cracked me up, was fantastic to see de Niro in such a humorous role. His timing was great, he matched upto Billy Crystal, that in itself was an achievement. And Billy was incredible in the movie. Whenever he made some logical conclusions based on the diagnosis and Vitti treats him as a genius, the distraught look on his face was evident. Lisa Kudrow, she was being herself, or as Phoebe of Friends. Not a single expression was new, all used up ones from her sitcom.

And yes, the Hindi remake of this was pathetic. Why do people take a nice movie filled with humor, and turn it into a horror show. The movie was titled Hum Kisise Kam Nahi, what a horrible title. Was it alluding to the ego clashes of the main leads – Aishwarya Rai, Sanjay Dutt, Ajay Devgan and Amitabh Bachchan? Or was it to do with the unspoken contest going on – who is making a bigger  fool of themselves in this movie? The Ajay Devgan character was totally not required, they could have easily done it without him. They give all such crap roles to Bachchan and expect him to salvage the movie. He and Dutt were the only good thing in the movie. If you do get a chance to watch this movie, please do not; have mercy on yourself.


Analyze That: I am not going into the movie plot just yet. I felt the sequel of the movie was forced on the audience because of the success of AThis. The characters were casual in their approach, they probably had a freehand from the director. There were a few funny lines, but not good enough. The movie starts with Vitti in the jail and Ben in the memorial service of his father. Vitti starts losing his marbles and Ben gets the responsibility of keeping Vitti under his custody. Ben also gets Vitti into regular jobs like car dealership, jewellery store attendant and usher in a restaurant. He finally settles for a job as an advisor in a tv-series. He starts instructing the entire crew, dictating the script and dialogs. But all the time, Vitti is planning a heist. And FBI gets a whiff of this as lots of underworld gangsters start visiting the sets. The movie ends with gang-bang.

The movie was quite a laborious watch, it just trudged along. Billy was under-utilized and lots of sub-plots were silly like Ben’s son becoming Vitti’s chauffeur.  The movie had no fixed plot, it just went from one forced humor to another. Harold Ramis, the director of both movies, has done his best. The script/screenplay has let him down. I did enjoy other okie-dokie comedy movies by Ramis, namely Bewitched and Multiplicity. The ease with which Ramis handled de Niro’s character was good. And with Billy Crystal on his side, he could not have gone wrong.

And lastly, I did sense that one of the subplots of Welcome was taken from this movie. The subplot of a gangster making a movie and dictating the cast and crew on the sets was totally inspired.

Billy Crystal has a terrific timing and he picks up the mannerisms of the character so well. I watched this mainly for him, and he was absolutely a treat to watch. I am waiting for Billy Crsyal’s next movie, Analyze That was his last screen appearance.

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Posted by on May 5, 2009 in hollywood, movies


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