Comic David Spade plays the title role in DICKIE ROBERTS: FORMER CHILD STAR about a hapless 35-year-old actor who desperately wants to jump start his career. Abandoned by his mother who ditched him when his TV show was cancelled, Dickie thinks that if he can only get an audition for Rob Reiner’s new movie, he can become famous again. Reiner, who plays himself, tells Dickie, however, that, since he missed out on his childhood, he’s no longer normal enough for the part.
Undeterred, Dickie thinks the only way he can win the part is by paying a normal family in the suburbs to let him stay with them for a while. The family turns out to be not so normal, however. Like Dickie, the husband, George, is tied to his career. He neglects his family and is rude to his wife. Meanwhile, the two kids and the wife, Sam, Sally and Grace, find it hard to relate to Dickie, whose social skills are extremely low.
David Spade is not the most realistic of actors, and this movie plays like a series of not-always-funny vignettes or brief incidents. There are some hilarious and touching moments, however. Not the least of these is a goofy poker game between Dickie and other former child stars, including real-life Barry Williams of THE BRADY BUNCH and Danny Bonaduce of THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY.
Parts of this movie show viewers that fame is fleeting and that love and family are more important than career. Other parts of the movie, however, contain crude humor and other objectionable elements. At one point, Dickie jokes with the two children about taking drugs when he was younger. Also, the husband’s mistreatment of his family is distasteful. Eventually, he runs off with Dickie’s girlfriend, leaving room for Dickie to become the substitute father and husband. The wife, Grace, and her kids soften Dickie’s rough edges, and Dickie turns out to be the kind of loving, fun, caring person they deserve.
DICKIE ROBERTS has some laughs making fun of Hollywood, television, movies, and the music industry, as well as the audience that consumes these products.
During the final credits, for example, a gaggle of real-life former child stars sings a comical song about being a child star that takes some potshots at the viewers who made them popular and famous. The song also contains a few light obscenities.
During another sequence, Dickie coaches little Sally on how to put together a pom pom routine for a cheerleading tryout. At the tryout, another girl, Sally’s rival, performs a suggestive routine reminiscent of pop music star Britney Spears. After her routine, Dickie and Sally knowingly call her a slut behind her back.
Although most of the foul language in this movie is light, it is too prevalent and unnecessary. That, and the other objectionable elements listed in our CONTENT section above, push DICKIE ROBERTS into non-family territory.
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SUMMARY: David Spade plays the title role in DICKIE ROBERTS: FORMER CHILD STAR about a hapless 35-year-old actor who desperately wants to jump start his career. DICKIE ROBERTS is an unsatisfying comical combination of moral messages mixed with mostly light foul language, crude humor and other objectionable elements.
(B, Ro, PC, Ab, LLL, V, S, N, A, DD, M) Lightly moral worldview where family is extolled above career and fame, mixed with some Romantic qualities, politically correct elements where "prudes" are mocked in a lightly flippant way and biological father is a villain because he neglects family, is rude to his wife, leers at another woman, and eventually abandons family, and minor villain appears to be a snobbish churchgoer, but movie is vague about that; about 18 obscenities, one strong profanity, 12 light profanities, obscene hand gestures, and an "f" word is referred to several times, though not said, by switching the first letter with another letter; some slapstick violence such as empty car accidentally rolls down hill and explodes, and man hurts himself while using a "Slip and Slide" mat and dancing on a pair of stilts; implied cohabitation, married man runs away with another woman, bedroom scene with unmarried couple, and young teenage girl dances suggestively like pop music singer Britney Spears and is labeled a "slut"; woman in lingerie and upper male nudity; alcohol use; and, man jokes with children about taking drugs when he was younger.