In association with
Review published
September 6, 2003
A.J.'s Rating:  2 Spade Stars
Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star
Directed By:  Sam Weisman
Written By:  Fred Wolf, David Spade
Starring:  David Spade, John Lovitz, Alyssa Milano

MPAA:  Rated PG-13 for crude and sex-related humor, language
               and drug references.

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    Former child star, Dickie Roberts, played by David Spade, is fed up with his pathetic post-celebrity life.  Can you blame him?  He's decided that the time is right for a comeback, but no one believes he can act.  Can you blame them?  He and his agent, played by Jon Lovitz, would do just about anything to land Dickie a part in the next Rob Reiner movie, but Mr. Reiner won't return their calls.  Can you blame HIM?  No, the only person you should really blame for this comedy is Adam Sandler.
    Here's how I think it all works.  Dozens of scripts arrive at Sandler's movie company, Happy Madison Productions.  He reads them, then decides which ones he wants to star in.  The rest he throws into the air, so that Rob Schnieder and David Spade can fight over the leftovers.  "Ooh, ooh!  Here's one called The Hot Chick!  That's perfect for me, really!  Can I do this one, Mr. Sandler?  Please???"  And, while we're on the subject, I have a tip for aspiring screenwriters.  When submitting to Happy Madison Productions, be sure that the title of your screenplay is the main character's name, personality, or occupation.  Otherwise, it may be considered too 'high-brow'.  Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star includes two out of three!  Writer Fred Wolf, former head writer for Saturday Night Live, could have completed the hat-trick by adding in Disgruntled.  He's no fool, but he's no great comedy writer, either. 
    At the center of this story is Dickie's realisation that he can only move on to more mature film roles by re-living the normal childhood he never got to have.  So, he moves in with a typical suburban family, as their child, and madcap comic escapades, along with some tender life lessons, ensue.  Yes, this movie actually attempts to have 'heart'.  It's an inspired idea that lends an unexpected bit of pathos to Spade's character.  However, it also serves to make the story even less funny.  In fact, it makes the story more than a little unsettling if you think about it too much.  Don't think about it too much!
    Now, that's not to say that Dickie Roberts isn't mildly amusing, which it is.  David Spade's whiney creepiness aside, I did enjoy many of the scenes featuring cameo appearances by actual former child stars like Barry 'Greg Brady' Williams, Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, and Danny 'Danny Partridge' Bonaduce.  Seeing them vent and work through their probably-not-so-ficticious frustrations about former child stardom was quite entertaining.  I couldn't help but wonder how they felt toward co-star Alyssa Milano, a star since childhood who has never known the limbo of 'former' anything!  Equally fun was an uncensored "We Are the World" spoof which runs during the end credits.  Too bad I had to sit through the rest of the movie for these few genuine laughs.
    So, to sum up in a way that David Spade's dozens of fans will understand, Dickie Roberts is better than Lost & Found, but not as good as Joe Dirt.  Am I splitting hairs?  Yes, I am.  Okay, that's all there is.  The review's over.  I have nothing left to say.  If you can't figure out whether or not to see this movie by now, don't blame me.  Bu-bye!