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Published on June 1st, 2008 | by simeon


Dickie Roberts Former Child Star

Fame can often be a fickle and fleeting creature as well as both a blessing and a curse. Those that have fame, often are 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 show biz 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 Lovits), 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 easy going manner as Dickie, but shows that he works best when part of an ensemble as since the tragic death of Chris Farley, 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 as much of the film unfolds like a sketch that continues to go on well past the point of being funny and comes across as an idea good enough for a dew sketches but not for a feature film. My advice is to save this film for a rainy day movie rental.

2 stars out of 5

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