Analyze This (1999) had the potential misfortune of hitting the screens shortly after HBO's new series The Sopranos began to explore the pregnant story possibilities in sending a mobster to see a psychiatrist, but the inspired comic pairing of Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal gave the film its own life. Under comedy veteran Harold Ramis's direction, the reluctant engagement of New York psychiatrist Crystal by Noo Yawk mafioso De Niro becomes at once a giddy culture clash between stereotypes and a chance for De Niro to strut his comedic stuff. Sending up his considerable history of screen mobsters and psychos, De Niro moves from emotionally anguished to therapeutically chastened to professionally menacing, all with razor-sharp timing. Crystal's restrained yet terrified responses and nightmares about The Godfather make him the ideal straight man for De Niro and another sign of what the media images of the Mob have wrought. Although Ramis keeps it all moving crisply, a subplot involving Chazz Palminteri and the obligatory final turn towards sentiment dilute the clever set-up. The hilarious first half, however, fostered enough good will with critics and audiences to turn Analyze This into a welcome hit for Crystal, De Niro and Ramis.