Mobster Paul Vitti is released from prison on condition psychotherapist Dr. Ben Sobol continues to care for him
Probably the least-eagerly anticipated of this year's many sequels, Analyze That has no hype to live up to, and no eager fanbase to satisfy. So why bother? Was the farcical story of panic-attack-prone mob boss Paul Vitti (De Niro) and his unwilling psychotherapist Ben Sobel (Crystal) so very good that we needed to know what happened next? Frankly, no. But since when did that have anything to do with the production of a sequel - I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, anyone?
Carrying on where Analyze This left off, the film finds Vitti in Sing Sing prison, where he is high on the hit list. After duping the parole board by faking serious mental deficiencies, Vitti is unsurprisingly placed in the care of poor old Sobel. Cue inevitable farce. As before, the major plot feature is a perpetual cycle of Vitti or one of his beefy buddies dragging Sobel into some ill-thought-out caper, with the stressed-out shrink invariably finding himself in the clutches of either the law or some rival bad guys. This time there's the added angle of his much-maligned father having recently conked out, leaving Sobel with a load of dad-related demons to get to grips with on top of Vitti's many problems.
All the mobster caricatures are wheeled out once again for us to chuckle at, and Lisa Kudrow returns as Phoebe, er, Laura, Ben's seriously narked wife. Understandably, she's not best pleased to have found herself married to a load of cast-offs from The Sopranos as well as her woefully weak-willed husband. Perpetuating this central gag, having already milked it so enthusiastically in the first film, means that Analyze That is somewhat lacking any genuine spark. However, this doesn't stop it being surprisingly funny at points, with De Niro and Crystal producing a comedy double act so rich in inspired facial expressions and easy humour that, in spite of yourself, you will laugh.
Well, its by no means a bad film, and as a piece of gangster comedy-lite, it does the job. However, its devoid of originality, and that factor significantly pulls it down.