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Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star

Starring: David Spade, Ashley Edner
Director: Sam Weisman
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 99 Minutes
Release Date: September 2003
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Scott Terra, Willie Aames, Craig Bierko, Danny Bonaduce, Jenna Boyd, Ambyr Childers, Evan Lee Dahl, Dustin Diamond, Rachel Dratch, Corey Feldman

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

DICKIE ROBERTS: FORMER CHILD STAR, directed by Sam Weisman (WHAT'S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN?), is a surprisingly tender comedy with a nice supporting cast and a few decent laughs. But it has the fatal flaw of having David Spade (JOE DIRT) as its star. An obnoxious actor with a penchant for pratfalls aplenty, Spade can rightly claim that this is his best picture ever. This, however, is nothing to brag about. Still, the movie is the first Spade movie that I can call tolerable. On the other hand, if it just didn't star Spade, ...

The story concerns Dickie Roberts (Spade), a washed up child actor from the 70s, now stooping as low as humanly possible in order to make a buck. Dickie sees a starring role in Rob Reiner's new movie as his comeback vehicle. Reiner thinks Dickie is perfect for the part, except that Dickie never had a normal childhood and hence knows nothing about real life.

Dickie sees his salvation in a rent-a-family. He plans on being a kid again -- with a mom whose breasts he ogles for something other than mother's milk. Mary McCormack plays Grace, the mother in his one-month-long family. The adults in the movie are all upstaged by Dickie's temporary siblings, Sam and Sally (Scott Terra and Jenna Boyd). They teach him what a kid's life is all about. Their dad is AWOL and proud of it, so there is lots of time for Dickie to bond with his new mommy.

The best of the jokes -- which mainly fizzle -- comes when Dickie shows movie stars just what they should do when a pushy fan demands, "Can I get a picture?" And, if you're into bathroom humor, Dickie also has some thoughts about a funny use for a light bulb.

If you've decided to stay through most of the movie, don't leave before the ending credits roll. During it is a cute musical montage of adults who used to be child actors. They tell us in song what they think of how we treat them now.

DICKIE ROBERTS: FORMER CHILD STAR runs 1:39. The film is rated PG-13 for "crude and sex-related humor, language and drug references" and would be acceptable for kids around 11 and up.

My son Jeffrey, age 14, gave it ***, saying that he found it funny and sweet. His favorite part was the musical number during the ending credits.

Copyright 2003 Steve Rhodes

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