Review: “Dickie Roberts – Former Child Star”

David Spade comedies are usually a little on the obnoxious side, so ‘Dickie’ proves a surprise as its arguably his most wide-appealing and easy to absorb film yet. Is it a good comedy? Hell no – the gags are tired, the premise flimsy and the character development borders on tragic.

Yet there is a likable charm to this so missing from the likes of “Joe Dirt” – the main character is a bit of a jerk but essentially a good guy, the nostalgic value of former child stars is treated with carefully biting but overall supportive satire, and the experienced supporting cast help lift some limp gags above the ordinary.

What you’ll walk away from this film remembering is of course the gags about real-life former child stars. Danny Bonaduce, Corey Feldman, Dustin Diamond, Leif Garrett, all pop in for requisite comedic cameos and the ending credits are quite a laugh with an almost “We Are the World” played for fun line-up of the now grown-up kiddie actors belting out a tune. Rob Reiner, Brendan Fraser and Jon Lovitz appear in small but smile-inducing roles as well.

Most of the work however lies in Dickie’s new family and ex-“Murder One” star Mary McCormack delivers as the beautiful but smart and down-to-earth mom, whilst Scott Terra and Jenna Boyd are fun foils turned sympathic kids who play off Spade surprisingly well. The last act is where the film’s strength lies and makes you forget how rather pale some of the first hour is. Its not a comedy one would necessarily recommend, but it is a decent time-passer.