Film Reviews: Wednesday, September 3, 2003
Failing Spade

Another formerly edgy comic turns gushy in Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star.


Hi. Iím David Spade. Remember me? Itís OK, you can take a second. Iím the short, rat-faced comic who used to do a bit like this called ďHollywood MinuteĒ on Saturday Night Live. Me and Sandler and Farley ruled the place back then, and I made a few bad movies just like 90 percent of all the other SNL cast members. Now Iíve got a new one out called Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, and surprise! Itís not a total piece of crap. Itís only mostly crap.

The thing is, I used to be dangerous. I didnít just make fun of the easy targets. I slammed the big stars, too, and sometimes I let them slam me. But somewhere between then and Dickie Roberts, I lost my edge. Maybe it happened during all the years on that lame NBC sitcom where my character kept dating supermodels a foot taller than I was. (Oh yeah, like you wouldnít have taken that trade-off, too.) Or maybe itís just me, mellowing out as I come up on the big 4-0. Hey, it could be worse ó take a look at that prematurely grumpy old man Dennis Miller if you donít believe me.

Anyhoo, in Dickie Roberts I play a former child star (check the title, dude ó itís in there) whoís trying to make a comeback by landing a part in a Rob Reiner film. The early stuff actually has some promise. Oh, look! Thereís my backstory told as an E! special. Thereís Emanuel Lewis kicking my ass on Celebrity Boxing. Thereís me palling around with Danny Bonaduce and Barry Williams and Dustin Diamond, and weíre all talking about the big stars, tearing them down one moment and then building them up the next. See, in that lower circle of Hollywood, guys like Brad Pitt and George Clooney are just as distant from us as they are from you people reading the fan mags. Since I still look like someone who used to be a cute kid, and since Iíve got the sour face of someone whoís been left at the station by the fame train, Iím pretty good for this part.

But oh, no! Dickie decides he has to give himself a normal childhood so he can play the part well enough to impress Rob Reiner, so he gives $20,000 to a family to teach him how to be a kid. This part of the movie isnít heinously bad; I get to hit on the hot mom (Mary McCormack) who doesnít want me around, and thereís a cute bit where I dance on stilts with the little boy. The movie might have worked if somebody besides me had played Dickie. I canít do it, though! Iíve been playing the smarmy, wisecracking guy for so long that I donít know how to be the soft touch that Dickieís supposed to be at the end. This sucks!

Well, it was a nice try, anyway. At least my movie has a reason for existing. Not like all those summer sequels taking up space in the theaters. Thatís something to hold onto until the next movie. Omigod, look over there! Itís Sandler! Adam! Adam, itís me, your old buddy! Howís it goiní, man? You wouldnít happen to have P.T. Andersonís phone number on you, would you? Well, hook me up, dude!

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