Analyze That (2002)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Comedy, Buddy Film, Gangster Film  |   Release Date - Dec 6, 2002 (USA)  |   Run Time - 95 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Although not very critically well-received, this sequel to the box office hit Analyze This (1999) is sufficiently funny to keep fans of the original film entertained, if not entirely satisfied, on a storytelling level. Billy Crystal and Robert De Niro simply retread their comedy-duo shtick as a therapist and mob-boss patient, stretching little beyond the character parameters previously charted, but there are plenty of amusing interactions between them. As before, Crystal does most of the humorous heavy lifting in these scenes, which (in at least one instance literally) don't require much performing on the part of his co-star. De Niro is required several times, though, to boisterously sing show tunes from West Side Story, as amusingly cringe-inducing a send-up of his persona as his unconvincing crying jags in both films. Their scenes together are too derivative of many moments from the first film, but the mismatched leads are still funny together and they're the best thing about these pictures; one wonders what another team-up in a completely different story with new characters would yield. Wasted, unfortunately, are several interesting co-stars such as Lisa Kudrow, again given nothing to do but whine, and Anthony LaPaglia, in a subplot involving a Sopranos-style television series that offers ripe opportunity for mining new laughs from the material but pretty much goes nowhere fast. If too much of Analyze That feels repetitious and programmed from its progenitor, blame the sequel-centric mentality of Hollywood which dictates that characters cannot change too much from one film to the next for fear of derailing a potential franchise, a flaw once shared (but decreasingly so) by television shows.