The Dream Team Review

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The Team of the title are four inmates of a New Jersey asylum - Billy (Keaton), a writer with violent tendencies, Henry (Lloyd), an obsessive who thinks he’s a psychiatrist, Jack (Boyle), a nudist advertising exec who sometimes believes himself to be Chri


The 'Team' therapist (Boutsikaris) takes them on a field trip to the Big City for a baseball match and, while helping Albert take a pee in an alley, witnesses a murder committed by two crooked cops. Boutsikaris gets put in hospital by the killers, and psychos are on the loose in the big city, whereupon they must overcome their various neuroses, outgrow their hatred for each other and rescue the doctor from the bad guys.

Thanks to strong scripting, perfect playing and self-effacing direction it’s a consistently engaging and entertaining movie. Michael Keaton, wearing his own mobile-eyebrowed face for a change in between assignments as Beetlejuice and Batman, has a chance to strut his comedy stuff and is at last given enough wisecracks to hold his own alongside Robin Williams or Steve Martin as a major screen comic leading man. His character, who declares “it’s great to be young and insane”, is a parody of the old Jack Nicholson Cuckoo’s Nest role, and Keaton duly spoofs his Batman co-star with verbal and facial tics, and proves especially adept when given vicious rants. “Does Ed go out the window?” he asks while terrorising his girlfriend’s yuppie lover. “Let’s have a show of hands. You can vote too, Ed. This is America.”

Director Zieff, who made a strong early impression with Slither and Hearts Of The West, but has been stuck of late with bland star vehicles like Private Benjamin and Unfaithfully Yours, has more chance here to demonstrate his skills with observation and ensemble comedy playing.

It’s a trifle mechanical, and its token soap opera scenes don’t really add up to anything approaching a serious commentary on insanity, but this is a big studio product picture that really works. Indeed, the format is so strong that I wouldn’t be surprised to see it spun off into a TV sitcom, doing for the psychotic what Cheers does for drinkers and The Golden Girls for senior citizens.

A well-put together team performance, with enough in-jokes and self-effacement to steer clear of any detours into bad taste.