Published on September 2nd, 2003 | by Erich Becker0
Review: Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star
David Spade will have a lot more time on his hands now that his sitcom, Just Shoot Me, has meet the wrath of the cancellation man. Still, Spade has a sharp tongue and a friend, Adam Sandler, who has ties all over the place with his Happy Madison production company
Dickie Roberts is a former child actor starring in a show called The Glimmer Gang and is best known for his infamous catch phrase, “This is nucking futs!”, but after his show is canceled he is left high and dry without his mother who left him. Now 30 years later Dickie hears about a role in a new Rob Reiner film from his poker buddies (composed of various former child stars). Dickie goes to meet Reiner, who says he would be perfect for the role, but having never experienced childhood he doesn’t believe Dickie has the emotional capacity (and baggage) to do well in the role. So Dickie gets the great idea of hiring a family and treating him like a kid for a month so he can get the research material he needs to land the role.
The family he moves in with is comprised of a neglectful husband, George, who wants to use Dickie to help promote his used car dealership, Grace, the mom who can’t stick up for herself. They also have two children who want nothing to do with Dickie. Things get interesting when Dickie’s girlfriend NAME (Alyssa Milano) comes back after being “kidnapped” hitchhiking in the beginning of the film to add a new foil to the normal life he has settled in to.
Dickie Roberts suffers from the same genre curse that most of Sandler’s movies had, they slowly wane in the jokes halfway through and then become focuses on the story elements from then on. The problem here is the story elements are never nearly enough to support the entire film, as they are paper thin to begin with. Although Jon Lovitz does kick up the humor a bit as Sidney, Dickie’s agent.
The story itself is by the book as well. Dickie moves in, faces opposition from the kids, who label him “stranger danger,” and ends up earning the respect of the kids and helping them out in their personal lives. Dickie also helps Grace stick up for herself against prudish, bible-thumping neighbors who you would just like to punch and kick to the curb, but they move out because of a “hare” raising incident with a rabbit. (Sorry)
As a comedy the film is lacking in the laughs, as described above, but as a fun little movie that tells a thin story that actually has you intrigued, and makes you laugh every couple of minutes, Dickie Roberts is a great little film. Spade is in no way up to par with his hilarious antics seen in Tommy Boy and Black Sheep, or on Saturday Night Live, but he does bring personality to the film and his sharp wit is unparalleled once he gets going. It won’t win any Oscars, but do you think they were trying to?