This is one of the worst movies of the new century.
Throw the rotten tomatoes at David Spade, the SNL graduate who stars in and co-wrote the so-called script to Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star. (How could Paramount Studios have approved a script in which all the key action happens offscreen — the classic amateurish blunder that they try to drum out of you in Scriptwriting 101?) Also blame director Sam Weisman (What’s the Worst That Could Happen?, a pretty good crime caper), who must have phoned in his direction because Dickie is so boring, its impossible to believe Weisman was actually awake while working on it.
Dickie Roberts (David Spade, Joe Dirt) was a beloved child star in the Glimmer Gang TV show, eternally famous for the line, “This is nucking futs!” Like so many wunderkinds, Dickie finds himself a loser at the ripe old age of 35. He plays poker with other whiny former child stars and passes the time working as a parking valet. Dickie desperately wants a part in Rob Reiner’s new movie, to give him the big comeback he dreams about. But Reiner insists that the part is the character of an average man, and everyone knows Dickie’s childhood was such a nightmare, he could never play a normal person. So Dickie decides to hire himself a normal family and moves into their home to experience firsthand what it’s like to be a normal kid. Dream on, Dickie.
Dad, (Craig Bierko, TV’s Sudden Fear) is a sleazy car salesman whose 14 years of marriage have blinded him to what a wonderful family he has. He has a gorgeous wife, Grace (Mary McCormack, Full Frontal), who is refreshingly full-figured like a normal woman. His two kids are terrific — there’s budding cheerleader Sally (Jenna Boyd, The Hunted) and her older brother, Sam (Scott Terra from Daredevil, who’s definitely heartthrob material as soon as he’s old enough to shave).
In a relentless series of adventures, misadventures and phony emotional setups, Dickie ingratiates himself with Mom and his new siblings, while Dad runs off with Dickie’s slutty old girlfriend. The family, of course, looks beyond the fact that Dickie is a total jerk and learns to love him. Oh, ho-hum. The humor (if you can call it that; there isn’t one laugh in the whole movie) is crude, stupid and hostile. Does anyone in their right mind think this PG-13 movie is suitable for children?
If you want to see a brilliant movie on the theme of what happens when a psychological beanbag tries to find love in someone else’s family, go rent a copy of What About Bob? with Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss. Any one scene of it is funnier and more satisfying than Dickie is in all of its seemingly endless 99 minutes.
– reviewed by Marci Miller