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
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