Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
ART would seem to be imitating life for David Spade, the TV comic
and Saturday Night Live veteran, who seems desperate to do anything
that will launch his film career.
Hence, in Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, Spade plays a former
TV favourite, now working as a parking lot attendant, who will
do anything to break into movies, even if it means self-humiliation
in the process.
After auditioning for the new Rob Reiner movie, about a man who
finds heaven in his own back garden, Roberts is told that he is
unsuitable for the role because he missed out on his own childhood
and isnt normal enough for the part; so he resolves
to reboot himself, and enters the home of a family
to receive the sort of upbringing he has been missing out on.
The ensuing family tale finds Roberts coming to the
rescue of a troubled family, while finding his own happiness to
boot, and is as sweet and predictable as one would expect from
The only surprise, however, is that Dickie Roberts is actually
quite entertaining, finding its laughs in the unlikeliest of places,
and actually coming off better than recent family comedies such
as Cheaper by the Dozen
and The Haunted Mansion.
Spade may cut an unlikely leading figure, and more often than
not comes over as a Dana Carvey (Garth, in Waynes World)
wannabe, but he also helps to keep things lively, even though
a lot of the jokes fail to hit the mark.
In fact, Dickie Roberts is actually less funny, during its set-piece
moments, than during the quick-flowing one-liners, making its
appeal all the more difficult to understand, while watching.
Yet by keeping the humour flowing so relentlessly, Spade neatly
manages to avoid the temptation to dwell, for too long, on what
doesnt work (and there is plenty), by replacing it with
something that does, and refusing to hammer anything home too
As a result, audiences feel less manipulated than they might,
while proceedings dont feel as laboured.
And while Spade may lack the out-and-out charisma required to
propel him onto the A-list (or even B-list), by refusing to take
himself too seriously, he also wins our affection, while some
of the scenarios he finds himself in, including a celebrity wrestling
match, are quite funny.
The early in-jokes at the expense of former child stars, including
a laugh-out-loud opening montage, are also keenly observed, as
are a couple of the well-realised cameos, while the closing song
(featuring a chorus-line of former child stars, such as Charlene
Tilton and Corey Feldman) ensures that proceedings are brought
to the right sort of feel-good finale.
It may, ultimately, be just as screwed up as its
central protagonist, but Dickie Roberts possesses the same offbeat
sort of charm, making it a film worth seeing, rather than running
away from. And thats not bad recommendation for a film produced
by Adam Sandler!