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Has anyone ever heard of a comedy without any jokes in it? Well, you have now.

“I feel bored, oh so bored. I feel bored, and jaded and unimpressed...” Watch the film to be able to sing it in context.

Movie
With so many sequels bobbing up nowadays it was really no surprise when we heard this film was being made. But the others generally had one thing in common; the original films were actually quite successful. You can’t say Analyze This was a genuine hit, though it did moderate box office during its theatrical run. So the only surprise was that this film was being chosen ahead of many others for a follow-up, presumably just an excuse to team up Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal once again. But, like the film, you can’t really say either of the actors’ careers have been flourishing of late, and this one won’t exactly put them back on the winners list in a hurry.

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After mob boss Paul Vitti (De Niro) was sent to jail in the previous installment you would’ve thought there was little room for the story to move. But the writers managed to conjure up a way out for our anti-hero, by way of him faking his insanity through a chorus of West Side Story show tunes. In some way it reflects De Niro’s insanity in taking on some of his latest roles. Time for a new agent, Bobby.

Anyway, Vitti’s faked insanity means the authorities must bust him out of jail and into the hands of his psychologist, Dr. Ben Sobel (Crystal). Sobel is naturally sceptical when first called to diagnose Vitti in his jail cell, and his doubts are vindicated when Vitti returns to normal the moment they clear the prison area. Sobel isn’t at all happy when those in power decide Vitti must remain under his care, nor is Sobel’s wife (Lisa Kudrow playing another version of Phoebe in an underused role).

The rest of the film deals with Vitti’s antics and Sobel’s struggle trying to deal with them. Vitti is hunted down by a number of mafia groups while trying to gain meaningful (legal) employment, the most interesting of which is his turn as a car salesman. He then lands a job as a consultant on a television show about the mob, meant to conjure up all sorts of joke opportunities yet the situation just doesn’t deliver.

De Niro tries his best but probably knows this is not one of his best decisions, while Crystal hasn’t done anything of note for some time, if ever. Kudrow is good and the supporting cast are serviceable on the whole with limited material to work with (read no jokes), yet the whole thing falls flat purely because none of it is at all funny. That’s not just my sense of humour talking, because there aren’t really any jokes to laugh at.

If you enjoyed the first film I’ve still got my doubts you’ll get the same enjoyment out of this one. De Niro fans (if there are any left after his recent efforts) may get a slight kick out of his mobster character again but that’s really all the pleasure that can be squeezed out of what is a lifeless film by anyone’s standards.

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Video
Like the recent Two Weeks Notice cover, there isn’t a 2.35:1 transfer as stated on the slick. The work experience kid must have produced two slicks in one week, one would think. Instead, the 1.78:1 presentation is pretty good on the whole, yet there are instances of grain and aliasing evident here and there. Check out the couch in Sobel’s house for evidence of the latter. The colours are vibrant and sharpness is maintained throughout, so this is still a pretty good transfer overall.

Audio
Two soundtracks are included on this one, a Dolby 2.0 mix and the full Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation. To be honest there’s little between the two, with the 5.1 mix being confined to the fronts for almost the entire film. I struggled to pick up anything in the rears save for snippets of the musical soundtrack, so even if there was something there it can’t have been anything of note. There weren’t any real opportunities for anything stunning in the audio department yet this is a disappointing mix.

Extras
Thankfully the disc includes a few extras, starting with an audio commentary with director Harold Ramis. Ramis has some interesting things to say, even though there are some silences dotted throughout as Ramis seems to get sucked into merely watching the film rather than commenting on it. He mainly talks about the locations used throughout the shoot and the make-up of the set, giving us an insight into how they shot some of the scenes during the film. Probably too many silences to justify being a top commentary.

The next feature is a documentary, basically a featurette masquerading as something better. The majority of the piece is filled with clips from the film as well as interview with the key players and a limited amount of behind the scenes footage. Running for just over ten minutes, this is really just a bit of promotional fluff.

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A piece called M.A.D.E is probably the highlight of the package. It’s an exam to determine whether you’d become a good mafia man, based on questions relating to parts of the film. You navigate with your remote and choose the answers, so the interactive element is a pleasant surprise.

The only other extras included on the disc are cast & crew biographies and the theatrical trailer, neither of which are all that remarkable.

Overall
Why make a sequel to a comedy without any jokes, particularly when the first installment wasn’t exactly a major hit in the first place? This film is a pathetic attempt to cash in on a star pairing and only a half-clever idea present in the original. The disc itself includes an above average video transfer, a disappointing audio mix and a spattering of extras, so you’d probably want to rent this one at best before parting with your hard-earned cash.


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