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Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star /

Rated: PG-13

Starring: David Spade, Alyssa Milano, Jon Lovitz, Mary McCormack, Rachel Dratch, Edie McClurg
Directed by: Sam Weisman
Produced by: Jack Giarruputo, Adam Sandler, Tom McNulty
Written by: Fred Wolf, David Spade
Distributor: Paramount Pictures


     Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star is just another one of this summer’s releases that should’ve been made for TV, but has been greedily thrown onto the screens of over 2,000 theatres, domestically, by a desperate distributor. All in all, it is instantly forgettable trash, but I did enjoy its sweetly funny humor and innocent execution. If you’re longing for that stupidly amusing guilty-pleasure that will have you entertained for an enjoyable 100 minutes, you’ll definitely fall in love with Dickie Roberts.

     Dickie Roberts (David Spade) is a fallen childhood television star. He’s been dumped by his girlfriend, has little money, works as a parking valet, and is stuck with the only agent nice enough to still be employed by him. Much of Dickie’s time is spent playing cards and commiserating amongst other forgotten men, who used to be in the limelight when they were young, too. He’s a nobody; a loser. In order to be successful again, Dickie must revive the popularity and following he once had, when he was a cute, little kid.

     When the opportunity to work with famous Hollywood director Rob Reiner appears, Dickie knows that it is his big chance. In attempts to get an audition, he must call on other celebrities, who have the power to contact Reiner and recommend him for the part. Luckily, Brendan Frasier helps him. Dickie meets with Reiner, only to find out that he isn’t eligible for the part. The renowned director tells him that the character that he wishes to play is “just a normal guy.” Dickie doesn’t know what “normal” is; after all, he did have a tremendously irregular upbringing, which is the foundation of one’s entire life. He’s not going to give up, though. Dickie is so desperate to get this role, he finds an ordinary family, who will adopt him for one month, and reenact his entire childhood with him.

     Make no mistake—this movie is like every other Happy Madison production—stupid, loud, and obnoxious. Strangely, these traits work to its advantage. Screenwriters Fred Wolf and Spade thankfully do not waste the potty humor, needed to attract teenage boys, on fart sound-effects. While crude, the dialogue in Dickie Roberts somehow manages to be charming. Most of its success leaves the cast to thank; the performances are what make this one funny.

     Spade’s work acts as a centerpiece for all of the comedy. His interaction with all of the supporting characters is the highlight of the movie; when he’s alone onscreen, Dickie Roberts is insanely bland, offbeat, and thoroughly tasteless. I have always been a fan of Spade films, no matter how dumb they are (Joe Dirt is actually one of my favorite teen-comedies of the decade, so far). His performance here, albeit conventional, is enjoyable to watch. Dickie Roberts isn’t very good, but it’ll be worth renting when it’s on video, just because it does have quite a few redeeming features.

     Stay for the ending credits—they’re the best part. While they roll, we get to see a musical number, performed by tons of real child stars. The casts of “The Brady Bunch,” “Diff’rent Strokes,” “Happy Days,” and “Growing Pains” are just a few of those featured.

     For what it’s worth, Dickie Roberts is an okay time. It offers a few laughs, some very enjoyable material, and a witty script. While this is not a good movie, and it did have the chance to be a great one, it is a very pleasant and acceptable diversion. If you’re a fan of the genre, attending a matinee showing is probably a smart move, and well worth your money. If you could care less about Dickie Roberts, it’s worth renting anyways. Surprisingly, it has something for everyone. If only that something were just a little bit better…

-Danny, Bucket Reviews

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