The Dream Team (1989) – A Review
Four mental patients with different issues take a road trip from their NJ sanitarium to New York city to see a Yankee game. Their doctor Dr. Weitzman (Dennis Boutsikaris) feels getting out will do them some good so he loads Billy (Michael Keaton), Henry (Christopher Lloyd), Jack (Peter Boyle) and Albert (Stephen Furst) into a van and are headed for an outdoor therapy trip.
Weitzman’s plan gets thrown for a loop when he inadvertently stumbles into a crime by some corrupt cops, is rendered unconscious and is taken to the hospital – leaving his four patients out on their own and unsupervised in the big city. They now have to depend on each other to find their doctor, save his life, expose the bad guys and somehow survive the city.
The draw to The Dream Team are simply the four lead actors, their chemistry together and the hit and miss jokes that get exploited from their various conditions. The story is completely forgettable. I mean, it’s really way down on the offerings the movie has that will keep you engaged.
I never cared about the corrupt cop stuff at all. It’s so breezed over and comes to such an abrupt, tidy conclusion I barely remember anything about it. It’s a shame too, since the two cops are played by recognizable and dependable character actors Philip Bosco and James Remar, but they just simply fill the required roles and don’t make any sort of impression here. So the corrupt cop story simply becomes a bland perfunctory device to take the doctor out of the picture, get the guys alone, give them some sort of goal to aim for and be forced to work together.
And that’s where the good stuff in The Dream Team lies – Keaton, Lloyd, Boyle and Furst wandering from scene to scene annoying each other or getting shocked looks by New Yorkers by their nutty behavior.
Some scenes are very funny, some ok and some don’t quite work as well as they’re meant to. It’s not a great comedy. It never gets downright terrible or anything like that, but I always thought of it as just an enjoyable passable comedy. It could have been great, but ends up as being ‘ok’.
Keaton seems like he’s relishing playing his anger-fueled character. Boyle has some funny lines with his Jesus fixation. First gets shortchanged the most out of the four. He’s the quiet one and his baseball quoting neurosis isn’t all that amusing. I never really got his deal. He mainly talks in baseball announcing lines, but occasionally he throws in TV commercial catchphrases. Eh, maybe his doctor understands his condition better.
It’s Lloyd who really steals the movie for me. Everytime he opens his mouth I laugh. His fussy, anal retentive character is a hoot. Probably my favorite scene is him entering a NY bar and annoying the patrons by complaining about how untidy they are. He’s great in this.
The movie tries to incorporate some sentimental parts and personal victories for all the guys as this adventure manages to progress them in the direction of getting better. Eh.
Again, the best one I’d say is probably Lloyd visiting his wife and daughter who he hadn’t seen for a long time. The rest of the ‘breakthrough’ moments – Keaton reconnecting with former flame Lorraine Bracco, Boyle visiting his former ad agency – they get somewhat clunky and routine. Then we get the big climax of saving their doctor and catching the bad guy police – it’s uneventful, unexciting ending to the story.
So it’s the four guys together that keep the movie afloat. I just dig them sitting together in the van or in their group, just doing the simple scenes and getting on each others’ nerves. Keaton is trying to scare them, Lloyd is busy with his clipboard, Boyle tosses out a religious line and Furst just looks all befuddled. They’re wrapped up in a very humdrum story, but fortunately the guys keep things entertaining. It’s not terrific, but it’s an enjoyable enough comedy that it won’t make you want to throw a chair through a window.