Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star

On the scale of ex-Saturday Night Live players who've branched off into film, David Spade falls somewhere in the middle of the success spectrum, currently duking it out with Rob Schneider for the most mediocre. The superstardom of Adam Sandler and Mike Myers have yet to reach both, but they are far ahead of others who have failed in film, like Chris Kattan, Will Ferrell, Tim Meadows, and Molly Shannon. Spade is probably the most adventuresome because of his highly sarcastic sense of humor, but Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star falls comfortably into the typical post-SNL formula.

Spade (Joe Dirt, The Emperor's New Groove) is Dickie Roberts, a weird, annoying, but deep-down likable and decent guy in a film that begins with a mean spirit, but also has something good going on underneath. As the title implies, Dickie is a former child star. He was once a cute kid with a popular show, but that all went away. He is now a washed up nothing, trying his hardest to get his agent Sidney (Jon Lovitz, Rat Race, 8 Crazy Nights) to find him choice roles for a comeback. He hears that Rob Reiner is casting a new film, and goes to Reiner to audition for the part. Reiner informs him that the role requires a sense of maturity. Dickie never had a childhood, so he could never understand many of the things he needs to know as an adult. Dickie hatches a plan to relive his childhood. He sells his memoirs and uses it to buy his way into a family to relearn childhood.

George (Craig Bierko, Kate & Leopold, The Cherry Picker) hires Dickie into his family. George wants the money. He is pretty much an absent father, and leaves Dickie with his wife Grace (Mary McCormack, Full Frontal, K-PAX) and kids Sam (Scott Terra, Daredevil, Eight Legged Freaks) and Sally (Jenna Boyd, The Hunted). They are not happy with the fact that a dysfunctional adult is living in their midst, yet Grace is trying to raise the family and start an interior decorating design job, bullies pick on Sam, and Sally is trying out for the cheerleading squad. See where this is going? Spade, who co-wrote the script with Fred Wolf (Joe Dirt, Dirty Work) ensures that the family helps Dickie grow up just as he is able to help them with their troubles.

Of course, this wouldn't be any fun without stupidity, and director Sam Weisman (What's the Worst That Could Happen?, The Out-of-Towners) ensures that there is plenty of dumb humor to go around, most of it revolving around Sam and Sally attempting to teach Dickie how to be a kid. Few movies have been able to get the correct mix of sentiment and idiocy, and these SNL movies are not in that number. Yet they keep trying, and every times the results are usually less than mediocre. Spade plays the same character he plays in every movie, but this time he is a little more uptight than usual. The only thing about Dickie Roberts that sets it apart is that virtual parade of real child stars who make cameos in the film, gently teasing their own experiences.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 39 minutes, Rated PG-13 for crude and sex-related humor, language and drug references.

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