Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star
Facts and Figures
Run time: 98 mins
In Theaters: Friday 5th September 2003
Box Office USA: $22.7M
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Production compaines: Happy Madison Productions, Paramount Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 23%
Fresh: 27 Rotten: 90
IMDB: 5.6 / 10
Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star Review
Dickie Roberts shot up the Hollywood ladder at a young age. A child phenomenon, he lorded over a hit sitcom and reaped the benefits of being a celebrity. He even had his own catchphrase -- "This is nucking futs!" But it all came crashing down the day his show got cancelled.
Now a walking episode of the E! True Hollywood Story, Dickie (Spade) parks cars for the current movers and shakers. He wants back in the limelight and believes a part in a new Rob Reiner film will turn his career around. But before he can secure the job, he's forced to hire a "foster" family to adopt him and give him the normal childhood he never experienced.
Five good jokes populate the first five minutes of Dickie. After that it's all downhill, as left-field antics clash with far-reaching pop culture shots. Watching Dickie celebrity box Emmanuel "Webster" Lewis and play poker with washed up teen sensations such as Corey Feldman and Leif Garrett is funny. Watching him shampoo and blow dry a dead bunny rabbit or berate poor Edie McClurg (The Hogan Family) is not.
Spade may have conceived Dickie, but he's the wrong actor to play him. Mean-spirited and sarcastic, Spade is unsympathetic by nature and incapable of selling the film's schmaltzy storybook ending. As Dickie's former flame, Alyssa Milano actually gets to play a character. Apparently her stint on Charmed slightly elevates her above the likes of Dustin "Screech" Diamond and Barry Williams, both playing themselves. Mary McCormack, meanwhile, is better than all of her co-stars combined. Playing Dickie's "foster" mom Grace, she refuses to slum her way through this lazy comedy, and that's admirable.
In a screenplay this predictable, everybody must learn something from the experience. Dickie teaches Grace to stick up for herself. The family teaches the child star how to be loved unconditionally. It's a sweet message, and speaks towards Spade's own isolation issues and family skeletons. There's even a running gag about Dickie's glove-wearing habit. If you listen to Howard Stern's radio program, you'll know that frequent guest Spade actually suffers from severe paranoia when it comes to germs and cleanliness. He's not yet living in a bubble, but he's close.
However, the execution remains poor. Spade occasionally connects with a ruthlessly accurate jab reminiscent of his time spent hosting the "Hollywood Minute" bits on SNL. But stretched over 95 interminable minutes, his gags fall flat. Spade had one good movie - Tommy Boy - that benefited from his chemistry with the late Chris Farley. Without a straight man, he has repeatedly tanked. Place Dickie next to Lost & Found, Black Sheep, and Senseless, and it's safe to say that it's officially time to stop giving Spade his own films.
The words "Dickie Roberts" and "Special Collector's Edition DVD" don't much merit appearing together, but nonetheless here we are. On disc you'll find two commentary tracks, deleted scenes, and outtakes -- including more of the E! True Hollywood Story gag.
Make the hurting stop.