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Movie Review

In this frequently dark comedy, Paul Vitti, a second-generation New York mob boss, is secretly suffering anxiety attacks and must get the problem fixed before his enemies discover that he's stressed out and privately weeping over sappy life insurance commercials. He seeks help from Ben Sobel, a second-generation New York psychiatrist who has his own father-son issues to deal with. A divorced dad, Ben is getting ready to be remarried, but his wedding plans end up taking a back seat to the notorious, needy Vitti, who is used to being serviced immediately. Ben is dragged into the underworld and placed right in the middle of a showdown between rival crime families (He exclaims, "When I got into family therapy, that's not the kind of family I had in mind").

Positive Elements: Ben insists on compensating the driver of a car he struck, wanting to take responsibility for his mistake. Vitti shows some respect for religious ceremony when he attends a Catholic funeral, and orders his men not to harm Ben. When Ben offers to prescribe medication, Vitti counters, "No. I don't do drugs." When Vitti casually offers Ben the sexual favors of a female employee, Ben declines. What little else exists is either riddled with obscene language or amounts to Ben displaying loyalty to those undeserving of it (such as electing not to help the U.S. government in favor of protecting his homicidal patient).

Crude or Profane Language: What would a Robert De Niro movie about organized crime be without frequent uses of the f-word? A relief. But no such luck here. Analyze This spews it incessantly, along with vulgar slurs, anatomical slang, and blasphemous exclamations of God's name. Viewers are assaulted by a non-stop barrage of foul language.

Sexual Content: The characters' lack of sexual morals is disturbing. Ben is already sleeping with his fiancée. Vitti has a mistress on call to pleasure him in ways he could never imagine being passionate with his wife (In one fairly explicit scene, the pair go at it under the sheets in a hotel room until Vitti must confess he's unable to perform). Lots of sexual "humor" ranging from impotence to incest. A patient tells Ben about her husband's sexual fantasies, which she is advised to fulfill to the letter.

Violent Content: There are many violent acts, including people being slapped or beaten, several victims of gunplay (one at close range) and a man falling to his death after being thrown from a seventh-story balcony. As disturbing as the actual behavior is, the script's verbal threats of brutality are equally inappropriate (castration, ice picks stabbed in eyes, two bullets in the brain, ripping out a human heart, etc.).

Drug and Alcohol Content: Vitti consumes a large quantity of Scotch. At the end of the film, Ben tells an apparently repressed couple to "smoke some joints, drink some wine" and do whatever else it takes to be happy because life is short.

Summary: In addition to creating the impression that psychotherapy holds the answers to life's questions, Analyze This asks audiences to laugh at criminal activity and sympathize with unrepentant mobsters. We're asked to root for Vitti—a cold-blooded killer known far and wide for his crimes—because, in this case, he's the victim. Sure, the film has some clever moments and more than a few chuckles, but it seems every laugh is followed by a flurry of profane language that twists a grin into a grimace. That's too bad. The concept of a conflicted crime boss has potential, but Analyze This includes more than enough offensive content to make families say "forgeddaboutit!"

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Robert De Niro as Paul Vitti; Billy Crystal as Ben Sobel; Lisa Kudrow as Laura; Chaz Palminteri as Primo


Harold Ramis ( Year OneThe Ice HarvestAnalyze ThatBedazzled)


Warner Bros.



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Bob Smithouser

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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