“Oh my god, that’s Corey Feldman.”
“Whoa, that’s Screech from Saved by the Bell.”
“Is that Leif Garrett?”
If you hear these conversations you are either at a really strange convention, or you are watching Dickie Roberts, Former Child Star. The latter is where I heard it, and the washed-up actors cameo’s do not stop there.
Dickie Roberts, written by and starring David Spade and produced by Adam Sandler, is about a former child star who’s searching in vain for a comeback.
The movie opens up with the E! True Hollywood Story intro and the familiar narrator explains the life story of Dickie Roberts.
The audience first meets Dickie at a Celebrity Boxing match where he gets thrashed by a short, yet very angry, Emmanuel Lewis.
Down on his luck and working as a valet, Dickie gets wind of an upcoming Rob Reiner film. Dickie, with a little help from Brendan Fraiser, lands a meeting where Reiner tells him that there is no way he would ever be cast for a main role because he never had a childhood.
In a desperate move, Dickie hires a family so he can learn what normal life is like and the hilarity ensues.
Dickie, who was abandoned by both of his parents after his sitcom was cancelled, grew up to be a calloused man with lots of sarcasm to spread around. Spade’s sarcasm goes over the top in many of his works.
This time, he saves it up in this movie for when it is only necessary, which makes every remark in the movie fresh and funny.
The most humorous exchanges are between Roberts and his adopted family’s young children, Sam (Scott Terra) and Sally Tracy (Jenna Boyd).
The kids help Roberts rekindle his childhood flame by showing him all the hot toys, teaching him how to ride a bike and showing him how to use a Slip ‘n Slide.
In exchange, Dickie helps them deal with bullies, girls and dance auditions. Between running into things during bike lessons and giving himself rubbing his skin raw by trying the Slip ‘n Slide without water, Roberts forms a bond with the children.
You see a softer side of Spade when he is doing scenes with the children’s mother, Grace (Mary McCormack).
Grace, who was originally unaware of the situation with Dickie, is clearly at the end of her marriage with her husband George (Craig Bierko) and Dickie eventually wins her over by treating her better than George ever could.
Spade and McCormack form a wonderful team and elevate the crass sarcasm Spade delivers with the children, to a more witty level, something not seen from Spade since Tommy Boy.
Even though the movie was full of funny moments and heart touching drama, the most entertaining part came at the very end of the movie.
Just before the credits, every notable child star that you could possibly think of sing a song about being a child star in setting that pokes fun at “We Are The World”.
Spade delivers a grade A performance, using his sarcasm craftily as opposed to beating you over the head with it.
A typical Spade movie, combined with a touching story with morals, propels this movie to something much better than Joe Dirt.