Los Angeles Times - 09/05/2003
"...DICKIE ROBERTS: FORMER CHILD STAR is full of sass and sentiment, managing to be both raunchy and sweet-natured..."
In the reverse rags-to-riches story of DICKIE ROBERTS: FORMER CHILD STAR, writer/actor David Spade's string of infectious laughs turn into waves of compassion. Former child star Dickie Roberts (Spade) has wound up working as a valet, dodging insults and lamely making attempts to regain his former glory with the help of his equally down-and-out agent, Sidney Wernick (Jon Lovitz). His buddy, the real-life recovering child star Leif Garrett, tells Dickie about a role in a Rob Reiner film that could revive Dickie's acting career. But Reiner is not convinced Dickie, whose mother and father left him at an early age, knows enough about normal life to nail the role. Dickie shows his commitment to the craft by moving in with a hired surrogate family to replicate the idea of childhood, but does not win points with his new Mom (Mary McCormack) when he introduces her kids to repugnant table manners, irreverent behavior, and foul language. As he absorbs the true meaning of tenderness and family, Dickie finally proves that he has something to offer each one of them.
Spade and executive producer Adam Sandler find classic comedy in this retro theme, which includes appearances from former child stars like Danny Bonaduce (Danny in THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY) and Barry Williams (Greg from THE BRADY BUNCH). As with JOE DIRT (2001), Spade also shows a tender side, which is surprising coming from the king of deadpan one-liners and brutal sarcasm.
Dickie Roberts is a 35-year old former child star. Now an out-of-work actor turned parking valet, Dickie is desperate to audition for a great role that could revitalize his career, but the part requires him to play a "normal" guy. Problem is, Dickie is anything but normal. He decides to hire a family to adopt him so he can relive his childhood and, in essence, grow up from scratch.
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