US, 1999, 103 minutes, Colour.
Robert De Niro, Billy Crystal, Lisa Kudrow, Chazz Palminteri, Joe Viterelli, Richard C. Castellano, Molly Shannon, Bill Macy, Elizabeth Bracco, Leo Rossi, Tony Bennett.
Directed by Harold Ramis.
For those who don't what a deep and meaningful psychological thriller (as well as those who do), this is the movie. What if...? What if a ruthless Mafia gangster were to have a nervous breakdown, weeping uncontrollably, unable to make the required hits? And what if a popular psychiatrist collided with a Mafia car and gave them his business card for reference? Of course, the gangster could go for therapy.
And he does.
With Robert de Niro doing his gangster turn as well as a please-help-me-or-else turn and with Billy Crystal doing his patter as an increasingly nervous therapist with his unpredictable client, there is a great deal of amusement. And it is helped by a generally witty script and the comic touch of director, Harold Ramis (Groundhog Day). While de Niro gets to play depressed, Crystal has a chance to impersonate the Mafia. So, a good time can be had by all.
1. A popular comedy, clever? Parodies? Wit? Laugh-out-loud comedy?
2. The New York worlds, the Mafia? The world of wealthy psychiatrists? The clash of worlds, the comic effects?
3. Robert De Niro and the Mafia cast, the parody of previous performances?
4. Billy Crystal, the Jewish psychiatrist, listening, advice, the sequences with clients, their issues, his imagination in telling them off, the reality?
5. The reversal of roles, Paul and his analysing Ben, Ben and his having to act as the Mafia conciglieri?
6. The New York feel, the skylines, streets, restaurants, the shadier areas of the city? Musical score? Tony Bennett and the final love song?
7. The story of the dons, the history, the meeting, their styles, the raid, the escapes? The avoidance of meetings – but the new meeting called?
8. Robert De Niro as Paul, the visit to Dominic, going back for the toothpick, Dominic’s death, Paul and his collapse, the panic attacks, his reliance on Jelly? His tears?
9. Ben, his clients, their problems, his treatment of them, Michael listening, his discussions with Michael, the plans for the wedding, meeting Laura? The crash, his anxiety, Jelly reading his card, their not wanting the police?
10. The set-up, Paul talking about his friend, taking over the interview, the offer of three hundred dollars to the non-assertive client and his taking it? Talking with Ben, Ben declaring the truth, Paul thinking he was good, the rapport, the effect, Michael listening in again? Laura and her discovery of what had happened?
11. The holiday in Miami, Laura and the TV interview, Ben and Laura, the night, Jelly coming, their consultation, Paul weeping, his dreams and explanations, his impotence with his girlfriend, Ben challenging him about his wife, macho beliefs? Ben and the questions, the effect, the relief? Laura upset?
12. The wedding, Laura’s parents, her father and his wanting to be called Captain, the threats before Ben walked up the aisle? The ceremony, the transition to what was happening upstairs, the guards, the shooting, Jelly and the shooter, the fall into the pool, the disruption of the wedding? Everybody’s reactions?
13. Ben and the Billy Crystal comedy lines and wit, Paul and the gift of the fountain, its size, the meetings on the Miami beach, their talking, the consultations?
14. Primo, his character, his henchmen, his plans for the takeover, ordering the killings?
15. The FBI, watching Ben, the talk, editing the tape, making out that Paul wanted to kill Ben? The dinner, Ben wired, his taking off the wire? Paul and his reaction, the possibility of killing Ben? Ben and his talk about Paul’s father, his death, the restaurant, the shooting? Primo’s men and the shootout, Ben with the gun?
16. Paul, his family, the meetings, weeping, not going to the arranged meeting?
17. The wedding set up again, the minister, Jelly turning up, hurrying the words, husband and wife, the exit from the ceremony?
18. Paul not going to the meeting, upset, Jelly taking Ben, briefing him, everybody arriving for the meeting, the preparations, lavish, the dons, Ben having to act as the consiglieri, slapping Jelly, the performance, imitating what he had heard, the first thing and the second thing…? His psychoanalysing Primo, the dons agreeing with the diagnosis?
19. Paul, his arrival, the confrontation, the police raid, Ben being shot, the escape?
20. Paul in Sing Sing, Ben and his visits, the consultations, the phone calls? Tony Bennett, the singing, the dance, Laura and Ben finally together? The popularity of the film and its leading