The pressures of modern life can get to anybody, even folks who are usually the ones who exert pressures on others. “Analyze This,” which was released in 1999, is a comedy that speculates on the consequences when a tough Mafia don needs a psycho-therapeutic intervention.
“Analyze This” stars Billy Crystal as Ben Sobel, the New York-based shrink whose life is temporarily upended when he treats a wanted felon. As the film begins, Ben has a fairly good life. He has an inquisitive teenage son, Michael (played by Kyle Sabihy), and an attractive fiancée, Laura (played by Lisa Kudrow), a successful television reporter. One evening, Ben gets into a minor car accident with gangsters. They work for Paul Vitti (played by Robert De Niro), a powerful mobster who has been suffering from anxiety attacks. Paul turns to Ben for help with his anxiety and concludes that the doctor can help him conquer his demons. Ben is understandably cautious about his new patient and is further distressed by Paul’s refusal to respect any of the boundaries established by the doctor. Accustomed to service on demand, Paul persists in stalking his new shrink whenever he feels the need for a session. Things get even more complicated for Ben and his family when Feds start following him since they are suspicious of people connected with Paul.
“Analyze This” is quite funny. It is amusing to see a dangerous criminal transform into an emotional wreck. It is also funny to see Ben struggle to deal with Paul and his out-sized sense of entitlement.
This is a stand-out cast. Billy Crystal does a good job showing how Ben often gets both mad and scared of his new patient. Robert De Niro is equally effective as Paul. Even though he is a hardened criminal, we often feel sorry for him as we learn more about his family problems.
“Analyze This” is a great choice for fans of comedy, as well as fans of stories about organized crime.