Movie Review
Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star
Dickie Roberts poster
By Gareth Von Kallenbach     Published September 4, 2003
US Release: September 5, 2003

Directed by: Sam Weisman
Starring: David Spade , Ashley Edner , Scott Terra , Rachel Dratch

Running Time: 99 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $23,128,000
The film does have a couple of laughs, but they are few and far between
Fame can often be a fickle and fleeting creature as well, as both a blessing and a curse. Those that have fame are often unable to cope with it, and those that seek it often find fame to be an addictive drug that can drive you mad.

Hollywood is filled with stories of entertainers who got famous only to burn out from the pressures and perks of fame often with tragic results. Child stars are often sad examples of the fleeting nature of fame, as many rise at a young age only to plummet from their lofty perch when they become older and are no longer cute and precocious.
In the film, "Dickie Roberts: former Child Star," audiences get to meet Dickie (David Spade), the biggest child star of his time who lost everything including his shallow showbiz mom after his hit show was canceled. Desperate to return to the limelight, Dickie (now 35) resorts to celebrity boxing matches and other menial appearances in order to break away from his life as a valet parking attendant and rocket back to stardom. Dickie?s only real means of support comes in the form of a weekly poker game he plays with former child stars where they talk about the good old days.

Hope arrives when Dickie manages to get an audition with Rob Reiner for a new film that he is preparing to cast. Dickie is convinced that the part is what he needs to get back on top, but is dashed to learn that due to his unusual upbringing, he could not handle the part. Desperate to prove himself, Dickie sells his life story with the help of his agent (Jon Lovitz) and uses a portion of the money to hire a family to take him in and show him what he missed growing up.

Naturally, certain members of the family are against this idea and Dickie is tasked with winning them over and getting the role to end all roles, and return to stardom. The film does have a couple of laughs, but they are few and far between and do not allow the interesting premise of the film to be reached.

Spade has an easygoing manner as Dickie, but shows that he works best when he is part of an ensemble like before the tragic death of Chris Farley, as he has not had a supporting player that allows his talents to shine. The film also only pays lip service to the effects of losing fame, as some of the more serious issues are not explored, causing much of the film to lack direction.

Spade wrote the script with veteran Saturday Night Live writer Fred Wolf ? much of the film unfolds like a sketch that continues to go on well passed the point of being funny and comes across as an idea good enough for a dew sketches but not for a feature film. As a result, my advice is to save this film for a rainy day movie rental.
Gareth's Grade: C
Gareth's Overall Grading: 50 graded movies
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