Published Sep 01, 2003With the exception of an elite few like Mike Myers, Bill Murray and Eddie Murphy, there's been very little opportunity for former-Saturday Night Live players to make the transition from the sketch comedy show to the silver screen. Most films that cast SNL members range from average to downright dreadful, but tend to garnish just enough attention to make them successful enough to lead to more roles. David Spade has made some truly awful films in the past, and even his "hit" film Tommy Boy isn't really that great. He tends to play his characters from the same angle, so you pretty much know what to expect when you see his name attached to a new venture, such as this current dose of mediocrity, Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star.
Dickie Roberts was the talk of the town when he was a cute, bleach-blonde little boy who starred in The Glimmer Gang, a campy sit-com that spawned his popular catch-phrase "this is nucking futs." When the series was pulled from the air and Dickie began to age, he, like most child actors, found himself unemployable by Hollywood and was reduced to being a walking joke clinging on to his former glory. When a plum role in a new Rob Reiner film enters the picture, Dickie tries everything he can to get an audition, with the expectations that this is the project that will get his career back on track. The only problem is that the character in Reiner's film requires a believable, common man performance that will connect with the viewer, and Dickie is anything but convincing as someone with a normal upbringing. Frankly, he's nucking futs.
In order to recapture the simple things like waking up on Christmas morning and playing board games with sisters and brothers, Dickie takes out a personal ad to find a family to shack up with for a few weeks in order to recapture his youth and land the role he so desperately wants. The seedy father of the family wants Dickie's image to help him sell cars down at the lot, while the mother and two kids are far less enthusiastic about having a washed-up child actor pretending to be a family member. The thought is rather creepy, and though the family learns to eventually love Dickie, there's really no mention about how disturbing it is to let a 35-year-old stranger sleep in the same room as children.
There are a few funny moments in Dickie Roberts, usually when we see the smart-ass, cold-hearted side of Spade. The main problem with this film is that it touches on far too many sentimental moments, which are so unbelievably cheesy you're waiting for a punch-line to break the tension but it doesn't always arrive. At times, David Spade can be intolerable as a comedian, so his laying on the sentimentality is a massive pill to swallow. And what would a film about a former child star be without a slew of real-life has-beens making cameos as themselves? Dustin "Screech" Diamond, Corey Feldman, Emmanuel "Webster" Lewis and Leif Garrett are all present, as well as dozens more for the finale, including the resurfacing of a disgustingly-bloated Corey Haim. If you want to put a positive spin on Dickie Roberts, at least it's helping a lot of these actors buy groceries this week. (Paramount)