Saturday, May 30, 2015
DICKIE ROBERTS: FORMER CHILD STAR (2003)
Directed By: Sam Weisman
Written By: Fred Wolf & David Spade
Cinematography By: Thomas E. Ackerman
Editor: Roger Bondelli
Cast: David Spade, Mary McCormack, Alyssa Milano, Craig Bierko, Bobby Slayton, Tom Arnold, Jon Lovitz, Sasha Mitchell, Retta, Doris Roberts, Dick Van Patten, Hal Sparks, Rob Reiner, Rachel Dratch, Edie McClurg, Michael McDoanld, Kevin Farley, Ambyr Childers, Jenna Boyd, Jeff Conaway, John Farley, Scott Terra
TV child star of the '70s, Dickie Roberts is now 35 and parking cars. Craving to regain the spotlight, he auditions for a role of a normal guy, but the director quickly sees he is anything but normal. Desperate to win the part, Dickie hires a family to help him replay his childhood and assume the identity of an average, everyday kid. Several folk who are also involved in Dickie's special world include: Sidney, Dickie's longtime friend and agent; Cyndi, his on-again, off-again girlfriend; Peggy, Dickie's real mother; George, Dickie's adopted father figure; and Grace, his adopted mother figure
A lazy satire of the stereotypes of some child actors after their stars have lost their luster. Though an inspired subject.
Fred Wolf and David Spade originally wrote a skit in the '90s for Saturday Night Live about a child star rampage, spoofing The Silence of the Lambs, for when Macaulay Culkin was hosting, but it was cut. The idea was later pitched for The WB, but they turned it down. It was eventually totally rewritten and turned into this movie, originally written as a dark comedy with more references to drug use by child stars.
While the cast is fine, what really saves this film is David spade which is usually the case with most of the films he stars In. If you enjoy his brand of comedy and the snarky smart ass characters he plays. Who are usually their own worst enemy and go through many humiliations, but develop a sweetness. Look at the film, Joe dirt his performance was more of an innocent sweetness and doesn't know any better . Which is the reason for his behavior. Where as here he is more the David Spade performance which is more cynical and smarmy to a degree but with heart. He saves the film through personality and talent.
Here what also saves the film are the many hilarious cameos of former teen and child stars playing versions of themselves or other characters.
It features Emmanuel Lewis, Maureen McCormack, Danny Bonaduce, Dustin Diamond, Barry Williams, Corey Feldman, Butch Patrick, Erin Moran, Christopher Knight, Mike Lookinland, Adam Rich, Jeremy Miller, Leif Garrett, Ernest Thomas, Tony Dow, Haywood Nelson, Corey Haim, Barry Livingston, Todd Bridges, Fred Berry, Gary Coleman, and Alyssa Milano, all former child actors
Two on-screen mothers of child actors are also featured: Marion Ross and Florence Henderson.
Though living In a cynical world that he is used to, he has the same quality, but lives their life with it showing. So they bring it out of him enough to stand by her side and showcase his own.
This film delivers all the cleverness the title promises. You get exactly what you expect plus some sharp comedic jabs at the increasing specialization of pre-teen girls and cheerleading. That sounds more tawdry then it's presentation that is how the comedy is served here. A certain sharpness that is delivered side or dull.
Now I will admit that I have a soft spot for Mr. spade as I am a fan of him. Though I can admit that this film isn't all that great or well made nor for everyone. i just have a soft spot for him and his films
He always plays bitter and sarcastic, though never a complete victim. His characters are intelligent but also seem to be ok being ridiculous as to them it's normal. He seems to be sticking with the lovable loser who wins on the end. Because no matter how despicable his acts there is a reason and he has a heart of gold
It's pretty basic and capitalizing on a phenomenon that at this time seemed to be common with a growing frequency.
Here luckily he is aided by a game cast. Especially Mary McCormack as the straight man to his comedic instincts.
His comedy is filled more by comebacks and witty lines among the stupidity more then a certain physical type quality which is what worked so well when it came to his on screen pairings with Chris Farley. Who was more physical in nature with his comedic talent which is what helped propel spade in comedic roles, especially small ones in bigger films. Though always seems to portray a kind of wimpy loser. Who is actually the smartest guy in the room. Sometimes by default.