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DICKIE ROBERTS: FORMER CHILD STAR

When he was a kid, Dickie was a star, but now, at 35, he’s strictly a has-been. What’s to do? Rent a family, find out what it’s like to be normal, and then make a movie comeback, playing the all-American-guy-next-door.

CAST: David Spade, Ashley Edner, Scott Terra, Jon Lovitz, Mary McCormack, Doris Roberts, Craig Bierko, Alyssa Milano, Rob Reiner, Corey Feldman, Leif Garrett

DIRECTOR: Sam Weisman

"Maintaining a winking distance from his comic persona, Mr. Spade radiates a cunning show-business cynicism that lets you know he's aware that he's slumming to make a buck…The movie flagrantly tries to have its cake and eat it too. One moment it is snarky Hollywood satire laced with double-entendres about sex and drugs…The next moment it turns saccharine as Dickie metamorphoses from creepy outsider to a hero in the eyes of the Finneys' too-smart, too-adorable children." --Stephen Holden, The New York Times

 

"‘Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star’ doesn't just get off on the wrong foot…This David Spade comedy breaks an ankle, ruptures several knee ligaments and hits the dirt harder than a felled linebacker. Best thing you can do for this movie? Leave it writhing in the throes of forced humor…Spade and co-writer Fred Wolf, who both scripted the atrocious ‘Joe Dirt,’ reprise the same failed combination again: cheesy story line, misfired comic bits and a dependence on Spade for most of the laughter." --Desson Howe, The Washington Post

"…feels like an amusing ‘Saturday Night Live’ sketch that overstays its welcome by a good 90 minutes…The film's high point arrives at the end, when a veritable who's who of has-beens gathers for a painfully funny musical number. But there's also something unshakably sour in the sense that the still-successful Spade is encouraging us to laugh at, not with, these eager, erstwhile stars. Spade shouldn't be quite so smug. With so many personalities working overtime to attract our attention, he turns out to be the movie's weakest link." --Elizabeth Weitzman, The New York Daily News

"There's a funny movie struggling inside of Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star. Too bad it never gets out…There's nothing wrong with comedies having a sweet center; most do. But ‘Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star’ is all sweetness, and not a minute of it is believable. Even more disastrously, the film's denouement demands that Spade actually show some acting chops--something that he is simply incapable of doing." --Chris Kaltenbach, The Baltimore Sun

"As long as the movie is applying Spade's sore-loser shtick to a satire of show business, it is mildly funny. But when it tries to grow into a heartwarming parable about reclaiming your inner child, the story is too undernourished to pull it off…Because Spade is hungry for an all-ages hit, a phony feel-good gloss softens what could have been a sharp comedy about the wages of celebrity. If the actor isn't willing to accept his dramatic limitations and hone his edge, he's fodder for a potential project called ‘David Spade: Former Comedy Star.’" --Joe Williams, Saint Louis Post-Dispatch

"I don't find Spade entirely noxious: He can be bitchily funny on talk shows and as wise-ass squirts on sitcoms, where he's scaled to the medium. But in starring roles on the big screen, he's the reductio ad absurdum of the notion that a stint on Saturday Night Live equals movie stardom. There's almost nothing visible in his elfin face except a desire to be taken as hip—removed from, and superior to, his material. He's not an actor, he's not a physical comedian (his attempt to do Jerry Lewis-style slapstick would fall even flatter without acrobatic stuntmen and whacking sound effects), and his timing is in the B/B+ range." --David Edelstein, Slate

"There are moments when Dickie is being rolled around in a stroller or grossing out the family at the dinner table or desecrating the body of a dead rabbit when the movie becomes downright repulsive...Still, the movie has a handful of hilarious sequences, its rather cruel depiction of the grim plight of ex-child stars gives it a certain edge, and its opening -- which takes the form of a cheesy E! Channel mockumentary -- is almost worth the price of admission. Be sure to stick around for the end title sequence: a "Live-Aid"-like musical number in which maybe 50 former child actors -- everyone from Tony Dow to Rodney Allen Rippy -- sing their own particular blues. It's outrageous, funny and genuinely poignant." --William Arnold, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"‘Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star’ is something of a schmaltz sandwich, with a filling of family-friendly sap smushed between two slices of very funny ‘E! True Hollywood Story’- style schtick…Director Sam Weisman never seems up to matching the fast-talking Spade's antic insolence. Don't miss the end credits: The rowdy, profanity-laced, ‘We Are the World’-style singalong featuring former child stars from California governor wannabe Gary Coleman to Maureen (‘Don't call me Marcia’) McCormick is worth the price of admission." --Megan Lehmann, The New York Post

"‘Dickie Roberts’ begins as an E! True Hollywood story, and as such is every bit as self-conscious as it is vanilla. The lame special appearances by endless former child stars seemingly exist to please the nostalgia wanker…There are two films at war here: the satire Spade and ex-SNL writer Fred Wolf want it to be and the bad TV sitcom facsimile it becomes when Dickie realizes that love is more important than fame." --Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine

"A relatively surefire comic concept--former TV kid actor, desperate for a comeback, moves in with a real family to research a role that requires familiarity with a normal childhood--is David Spaded in ‘Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star.’ In other words, the comedian's usual sarcastic shtick sabotages any effort to make the pathetic character the least bit believable." --Bob Strauss, Los Angeles Daily News