A Film Review By Jason L. King
|Rating: Rated PG-13 for crude and sex-related humor, language and drug references.
Starring:David Spade, John Lovitz, Dustin Diamond, Corey Feldman, Craig Bierko
Directed By:Sam Wiesman
A Child Star is someone everyone remembers. Everyone has at least one childhood memory of watching some little kid grow up on TV. Some of us remember Macully Culkin, the Home Alone Kid who beat up those crazy Robbers Harry and Marv. Where is he now? (Well coincidentally he is making a big screen return this week with his film Party Monster) And how about the Olsen Twins? Mary Kate and Ashley? The two lovable little girls who charmed their ways into the hearts of thousands of viewers as little children on the show full house. (Who the mike assures me are now some of the Hottest girls on the planet!) But every child star has to someday grow up, and when their time of cuteness is gone, it is up to them to move on and for us to live in the land of reruns.
Well the character of David Spade’s film forgot to do just that. We meet Dickie Roberts (David Spade) through what is supposed to be the E! True Hollywood Story of a former Child Star named Dickie Roberts. He like every other child star in the world was snatched up and deprived a childhood and was adored by millions of TV viewers as he coined the catch phrase, “That’s Nucking Futs!” But when Dickie grew up both himself and his career ended up in the garbage. Now with nothing to lose, Hollywood’s Biggest Loser, Dickie Roberts will do anything to get his career back. And when the opportunity knocks, Dickie must prove to the director that he is worthy of the part. But in order to do so, he must go back to his roots and make up for the inner child in him that he missed out on earlier in life.
Let’s start off by saying this isn’t an Oscar Performance. In fact, I don’t know if it was a performance as much as it was a “Loosely based on the life of David Spade” Movie. Everyone remembers David Spade as the charming little guy who gave us our Hollywood Minute on SNL or teamed up with Chris Farley for movies like Tommy Boy and Tommy Boy 2 (also known as Black Sheep). Some of the more die hard Spaders (is that a word) know him from his sitcom “Just Shoot Me.” How you know David Spade is not important though. After the death of Farley, Spade has been searching for his comeback film. Sadly enough, he didn’t find it in Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star.
Somewhere hidden amongst the crap that is called the humorous tale of Dickie Roberts is a comedian named David Spade. A comedian who is trying so hard to make a comeback it makes you nearly feel bad for him. His dry humor is hidden so easily by the stupid antics they make him go through, like fall off a bike a thousand times, say dumb things,and dress like and idiot. His appearance and the moronic nature of his character cover up David Spade’s true strong point, his dry humor. The Dickie Roberts Character is nothing more than a mullet-less mockery of Spades last disaster, Joe Dirt. I know I for one actually liked Joe Dirt a lot better than I did Dickie Roberts. At least in Joe Dirt we didn’t have a film that just felt like David Spade was screaming “Please give me a career back again!” In Joe Dirt he looked like he was at least having fun, and there were some more memorable moments. All Dickie Roberts had was Spade saying things like “That’s Nucking Futs!” and would retreat to the “Your Mom is Hot Joke” when all else failed.
It’s sad that I can say I didn’t find much for redeeming qualities in this film. Especially when I enjoy watching David Spade. But I should have known there wasn’t much good to come out of this flick when I saw it was produced by “Happy Madison Productions.” For those of you still confused, that company is owned by another former SNL star, Adam Sandler. The “abby doobie” actor hasn’t made a great movie himself as of late, so why should we expect his company to help revitalize David Spade’s career? On top of that Dickie Roberts was directed by Sam Wiesman who has done nothing but a series of TV shows and mediocre films, his last film was the horrible “What’s The Worst that could happen” starring Martin Lawrence and Danny Devito back in 2001.
But the biggest problem was that there was nothing new here. It was a sad rehash of Joe Dirt, but this time with less of a redneck feel and more of a Hollywood feel. If it didn’t work the first time, why did they rehash it? I may never know.
All is not lost though. I am not sure how, but even a bad film has its shining moments. Director Rob Reiner was a fun addition to the film, playing the most challenging role his has ever done…that being Himself. On Second thought, he wasn’t good; it was just his cameo that was kind of fun. The real shining moment was the credits, but not because the film was over, but because it included a humorous song done by a plethora of former child stars many people will remember. If the actual film were as much fun as the credits, I would have given it an A for a grade.
In the end, Dickie Robert’s Former Child Star had the potential to be something. May people will say David Spade playing the lead doomed it right from the very beginning. I’m not calling Joe Dirt a work of art (although it did star Kid Rock AND the great Walken as Clem the school janitor) but I’m saying that it wasn’t the worst thing I had ever seen either. That’s because Spade can act and he is Funny, but in Dickie Roberts he has to lower himself to “Look I hurt myself antics” to get a laugh. A few more films like that and his career will be in the same boat as Eddie Murphy. If there was a real Dickie Roberts, I am sure he would tell you to skip this film and watch his childhood through TV reruns. At least then you know you can find enjoyment in it. As for Dickie Roberts: Former Childhood Star (the movie) I think you may have a little trouble getting more out of it than a slight chuckle.