Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star

"Terrible"

Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star Review


Another ill-conceived mish-mash of puerile humor and disingenuous sap from Adam Sandler's Happy Madison production company, "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star" features David Spade as a Hollywood has-been trying to recapture the childhood he never had in an attempt to win a comeback role as a "normal guy."

In what should have been a perfect role for his meager talents and snarky, one-note persona, Spade barely even tries to create a character beyond being crass, uncouth and insecure -- in short, his usual schtick -- and wearing gloves all the time as some short-hand attempt at eccentric paranoid psychoses.

The only effort put toward establishing his credibility as a former child star (beyond flashbacks of a young Dickie repeating the amusingly tasteless catch phrase "This is nucking futs!") is to ply the film with cameos by kiddie actors whose careers have faltered in adulthood. Dickie plays poker with Leif Garrett, Dustin "Screech" Diamond, Corey Feldman, Danny Bonaduce and Barry "Greg Brady" Williams, who places bets using "Brady Bunch" tchotchkes he claims are "worth at least $2 on eBay!"

Bookended with fictional "E! True Hollywood Story" snippets about Dickie that display not a hint of badly-needed irony (didn't these guys see "The Simpsons'" brilliant "VH-1: Behind the Laughter" episode?), the movie's plot revolves around the washed-up actor moving in with a young family to learn about how real people grow up.

But Spade and director Sam Weisman (whose history of bombs includes the "Out-of-Towners" remake and "What's the Worst That Could Happen?") pay only lip service to this concept, mostly through ineffectually staged, stereotypical episodes of childhood. For the balance of the movie, when Spade isn't knocking out transparently self-aware ad-libs or helping the kids (Scott Tera and Jenna Boyd) stand up to bullies and win spots on the pep squad, he's skulking around the pretty, martially neglected mom (Mary McCormack, the only adult actor not phoning it in) in a clumsy attempt at a romantic subplot.

All of this builds up to Dickie's big audition for the lead in a schmaltzy Rob Reiner movie -- an audition Weisman doesn't have the courage to show because Spade doesn't have the talent to pull off the authenticity and emotion he's supposedly learned from his experiences.

I could catalog the movie's ineptitude through examples of its continuity problems (actors' clothes change, then change back), obtuse scripting ("Say, this movie part sounds like the key to everything!") and missed opportunities (why doesn't Reiner parody himself instead of playing it straight?), but even the problems with "Dickie Roberts" are lackluster. Suffice it to say the flick is so false on every level that even the so-called "normal guy" Dickie is dying for a chance to play is a sham. How "normal" is a multi-billionaire obsessed with building the biggest house in the world?

By making such a lethargic and almost laughless picture, Spade and Weisman squander a great concept for a dark comedy on template-based writing, directing and acting, leaving "Dickie Roberts" with exactly three moments having any kind of comedic payoff: That borderline-dirty catch phrase, an appearance by Emmanuelle "Webster" Lewis in which the diminutive actor feigns heavyweight-champ toughness in a celebrity boxing match (kicking Dickie's butt), and a gag with a champagne cork popping Alyssa Milano (as Dickie's incredibly unlikely girlfriend) in the back of the head.



Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star

Facts and Figures

Run time: 98 mins

In Theaters: Friday 5th September 2003

Box Office USA: $22.7M

Distributed by: Paramount Pictures

Production compaines: Happy Madison Productions, Paramount Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 23%
Fresh: 27 Rotten: 90

IMDB: 5.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Dickie Roberts, as Grace Finney, as George Finney, as Sam Finney, as Sally Finney, as Referee, as Commentator, as Himself, as Dickie's Corner Man, as Cyndi, as Himself, Joey Diaz as Emmanuel's Entourage, as Emmanuel's Entourage, Brian Clark as Guy in Car, as Himself, Emily Harrison as Girl, as Girl, Alan Blumenfeld as Mr. Rollins, as Sidney Wernick, Sasha Mitchell as Angry Driver, M. Blair Breard as Alcoholic Speaker, as Himself, Kathleen Randazzo as Counselor, Peggy Mannix as Lamaze Group Leader, as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, as Reiner's Secretary, as Himself, as Publisher, as Publisher, Rob Elk as Biker, Retta as Sad Eye Sadie, as Strange Man, as Peggy Roberts, as Himself, Nicholas Schwerin as Young Dickie, Michelle Ruben as Ring Girl, as Mrs. Gertrude, John Kirk as Passing Man with Camera, Alexander D. Slanger as Map Seller, Oliver Kindred as Bully, Brandon de Paul as Bully, Evan Lee Dahl as Bully, Wyatt Smith as Boy in Crowd, Patrick Thomas O'Brien as Mr. Gertrude, Colin Ryan as Gertrude Kid, Christopher Johnson as Boy, Sergei Virovlianski as Boy, Jake Chapman as Boy, as Barbie, as Teacher at Microphone, as Heather Bolan, Kevin Farley as Valet, Miko C. Brando as Valet, Mindy Burbano as News Correspondent, Jann Carl as Herself, Lindsey Dann as Reporter, as Herself, as Brittany, Meghan Faye Gallagher as Janice, as Himself, Fred Berry as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, Tony Dow as Himself, as Herself, Christopher Knights as Himself, as Himself, Mike Lookinland as Himself, as Herself, Eddie Mekka as Himself, Jeremy Miller as Himself, as Herself, Haywood Nelson as Himself, Jay North as Himself, as Himself, Butch Patrick as Himself, Jonathan Loughran as Himself, as Himself, Paul Petersen as Himself, Adam Rich as Himself, Rodney Allen Rippy as Himself, as Herself, Ernest Lee Thomas as Himself, as Herself, as Maitre' D

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.