Analyze That begins with a scene from a television show, meant to be similar to The Sopranos (itself bearing a bit of similarity to the original Analyze This). Making this kind of reference usually suggests we're going to compare some shiny Hollywood veneer with a seemy underbelly of some sort. There's intimations of this, but the half-hearted execution is really indicative of the whole of the film, yet another victim of sequelitis.

It's been a while for me, but I remember the first film, Analyze This, as a fairly decent, and - most importantly - self-contained, light comedy. They've lifted the heart of that film, the interaction between the Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal characters, and forced a film around it. At the end of the last film, De Niro's Paul Vitti is in prison, so there's a pretext (someone is trying to kill him) to get him out and with Crystal's Ben Sobel. Lisa Kudrow is around and Sobel's wife to make say some similar punchlines as in the first film. We see their son now and then, but Vitti's family is completely written out - though, having been released from prison, this should have been addressed some way or another.

The entire film seems constructed of such flimsy material. Ben Sobel has started popping unspecified pills to deal with the death of his father. While this problem is referenced a lot, the only actual symptom appears to be the taking of these pills. When Vitti ends up a paid consultant on the television show that began the film, his effect on the show remains unclear. As for the threat to his life, the whys and the hows of it all take a distant back seat to the almost impossibly clever method he uses to straighten things out.

De Niro and Crystal have good chemistry, but such paper-thin material doesn't do either of them justice.

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