by Gary Johnson
Harold Ramis isn't a particularly innovative filmmaker, but he certainly knows what's funny. His newest movie, Analyze This, is one of the funniest movies of the past decade, with a good dozen belly laughs. Analyze This is also an old-fashioned yarn, akin to '30s comedies such as A Slight Case of Murder and Brother Orchid that made fun of the entire gangster genre. Likewise, it's easy to imagine a '30s-ish Edward G. Robinson or James Cagney in the lead role in Harold Ramis' new comedy. However, Ramis has a ringer of his own--Robert De Niro. No modern American actor is so closely tied to gangster movies as De Niro. His screen presence immediately recalls his work in The Godfather Part II, Casino, GoodFellas, The Untouchables, Mean Streets, and other gangster tales. Ramis and De Niro perfectly utilize DeNiro's own past in Analyze This by turning our expectations upside down.
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