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Film / Analyze This

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Analyze This is a 1999 crime-comedy film, starring Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal. Directed by Harold Ramis.

Paul Vitti (De Niro) is a high-ranking mafia member, involved in organizing the first nationwide summit since 1957. The Mafia is under threat by the FBI, as well as by their Chinese and Russian rivals in organized crime. Vitti also has to avoid assassination attempts by young upstarts. Meanwhile, psychiatrist Ben Sobel (Crystal) is agonizing over his problematic relationship with his son, his mind-numbingly boring patients, and his upcoming second marriage.

When Vitti starts having panic attacks, a first in his life, he deems psychiatric help is in order. Sobel is the lucky psychiatrist chosen for the job. Sobel's life is more or less taken over by his needy patient, who has no problem having his thugs regularly abduct Sobel for their sessions. More trouble comes into his life when the FBI decides to turn the psychiatrist into their newest informant.

The film is well-regarded for its partly serious and partly humorous look at the stress and depression of De Niro's character. It was also a commercial hit and received a sequel, Analyze That (2002). While not a complete flop, the second film was a critical failure, killing the idea of another sequel.

Interestingly, released the same year as the start of a TV series involving a Mafioso going to a psychiatrist after having a panic attack. Whether one inspired the other, or it was just coincidence, or if there was just "something in the air" isn't entirely clear.

Analyse This provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Alleged Lookalikes: Played with in Analyze That.
    Eddie De Vol: You know my guys - Enormous Bobby and Al Pacino?
    Paul Vitti: Al Pacino... that's your name?
    Al Pacino: No, they call me that because I look like Al Pacino.
    Paul Vitti: Oh?
    Al Pacino: The actor.
    Paul Vitti: Anybody ever call you Carol Burnett?
    Al Pacino: Why?
    Paul Vitti: Because you look as much like Carol Burnett as you do Al Pacino.
  • Acronym Confusion:
    FBI Agent Steadman: Dr. Sobel, Ma'am: I'm Agent Steadman, Agent Ricci, Agent Provano, Federal Bureau Of Investigation, OCD.
    Dr. Ben Sobel: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?
    FBI Agent Ricci: Organized Crime Division. We need to talk.
  • Arch-Enemy: Primo, who deeply resents Paul for being the better and more popular mobster.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Paul Vitti is a criminal, a criminal with issues, but still a criminal, but the FBI agents are pretty unscrupulous too, threatening Doc Sobel and altering a recording of Vitti defending Sobel so it would sound like he was plotting to kill him, in order to get Sobel to wear a wire.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Skirted. Sobel has a dream where he and Vitti re-enact the scene in The Godfather where Vito Corleone is gunned down while buying fruit, with himself as Vito and Vitti as Fredo. Recounting this dream to Vitti the next day, Vitti comments that it was a good scene from the movie. Which sounds very odd coming out of the mouth of Robert de Niro, who portrayed the younger Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II, and both he and Marlon Brando won Oscars for their respective performances.
  • Confess in Confidence: Vitti opens up to Sobel about his stress-related problems, both in his professional and personal life.
  • The Consigliere: The role Dr. Sobel ends up in, quite against his will.
  • The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much
    • How Vitti's henchman Jelly avoided jail time in one case — a witness "stabbed himself in the back four times and threw himself off a bridge."
    • Later mocked when a would-be assassin is thrown out of the penthouse window (during Sobel's wedding no less):
    Vitti: It was probably suicide. Jelly, have they found a suicide note yet?
    Jelly: No, but they will. (starts to write)
    Jelly: That's a good idea.
  • Deconstructive Parody: Of the gangster genre and the adverse effects living like a criminal will produce.
  • Dead Man's Switch: If anyone kills Vitti, his documents on the other mobsters will go public.
  • Death Glare: Subverted; When Vitti has Sobel dragged out of bed, he is not too happy to find out it was because Vitti couldn't get it up and lashes out at him, finishing with stating he doesn't have time for Paul's bullshit. Paul simply turns to look at him which is enough to get Sobel to back down.
  • Destination Defenestration: An assassin sent to kill Paul in Miami ends up receiving this. And crashes into Sobel's wedding below...
  • Epiphany Therapy: Vitti keeps expecting this, but it's never as neat and tidy as he wishes it would be.
  • Fat Bastard: Zigzagged with Jelly, Vitti's right-hand man. He is fat (likely how he got his name), he is a mobster (and does kill a few people on-screen), but he's more of a Noble Demon.
  • Fat Idiot: Jelly pretty much confirms this.
    Jelly: I'm a fuckin' moron.
  • Hidden Depths: For all his fearfulness, Sobel does have the ability to be manipulative. He manages to talk Vitti out of executing him by asking him about the last meal his father had, seguing into getting him to break down about his father's assasination. He also manages to fluster Primo during the Mafia meeting by making waves about his own inferiority complex.
  • High-Altitude Interrogation
    • Vitti and Jelly to a hitman in Analyze That.
    • And later, Doc Sobel gets the same treatment for filming a scene in the Show Within a Show Little Caesar.
  • Humiliation Conga: What dignity Vitti retains at the end of the first movie is utterly destroyed at the beginning of the second as he clowns in front of the other prisoners to keep them from trying to kill him.
  • I Have Many Names:
    • Played straight with Primo:
    "I'm Primo Sidone. They call me Sonny Long. Some of you know me as Mikey Gaga. Some of you know me as Joey Boombatz."
    • Then parodied when Sobel tries to imitate Primo while introducing himself. Apparently, he's also "Benny the Groin", "Sammy the Schnoz", "Elmer the Fudd", "Tubby the Tuba", and on one occasion "Miss Phyllis Levine".
  • I Have This Friend: Vitti tries this, but it doesn't work. When Sobel "sees through it" he seems fascinated.
  • Indulgent Fantasy Segue / Daydream Surprise: Sobel's fantasy of telling a patient exactly what he thinks of her. The sequel has him doing this at his father's funeral, although from what his wife comments his actual eulogy failed to totally hold back.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: Paul has Ben dragged out of bed in the middle of the night because he couldn't get it up while having sex with his mistress. Ben offers a suggestion which Vitti shoots down on principle.
    Dr. Sobel: You mean you dragged me out of bed because you couldn't get an erection?
    Vitti: Don't that prove I'm motivated?
    Dr. Sobel: You know, you can take a pill for that.
    Vitti: Nah, that's a cheat; you start with the pills, the next thing you're putting in hydraulics. A hard-on should be gotten legitimately or it shouldn't be gotten at all.
  • More Dakka: The number of gun fights in this film should be a Drinking Game. In the climax, Vitti calls out his backup, who show up with increasingly powerful weapons, culminating with a gangster marching out with a machine gun with a smaller gangster at his side acting as the loader.
  • Percussive Therapy: When Sobel suggests "hitting a pillow" to Vitti as a means of calming down, Vitti unloads a 9mm clip into a defenseless cushion.
  • Precision F-Strike: " ... but the people who know me, call me the fucking Doctor." Sobel introduces himself to the gangster summit meeting.
  • Recorded Spliced Conversation: Vitti's mob associates warn him to eliminate his psychiatrist Ben Sobel. Vitti, who's already become friends with Sobel, instead warns that if anyone makes an attempt, "I'll kill 'em". The FBI, who secretly taped the recording, cuts out Vitti's warning so that "I'll kill 'em" sounds like he's agreed with the advice and then play it to Sobel in order to trick him into becoming their mole.
  • Shout-Out: Besides all the mafia and psychology films. One scene has Sobel saying "to find us, we need to get inside and let it out. Like that thing that got out and ate those in the spaceship. Rest in peace."
  • Stealth Pun: When Dr. Sobel tells Paul to try hitting a pillow to get rid of anger, Paul does indeed hit the pillow... by pulling out a 9mm pistol and emptying the clip into it. Although he shot it, he did still hit the pillow... mafia-style.
  • [Verb] This!
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy:
    • Vitti had been fighting with his dad and was very angry at him, but is haunted by guilt due to watching him die.
    • Sobel has almost the same problem, coping with the success and popularity of his father who's also a psychiatrist.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Analyze That


"Get A F-ing Life!"

Dr. Sobel imagines hurling abuse at a patient of his.

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