Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star

Rated 2.0 The title character (David Spade) wants to make it as an adult actor, but his stunted childhood has left him incomplete. So, he hires a “normal” family to let him move in and try to get the background and upbringing he never knew. The plight of many former child stars offers grist for an excellent movie, and the presence of many of them (Danny Bonaduce, Leif Garrett and Emmanuel Lewis) gives this one an uneasy claim to authenticity. Another plus is that Spade shows an unexpected range and potential for depth. But it’s an opportunity badly blown, done in by Spade and Fred Wolf’s script, with contrivances and dumb-ass jokes that betray the writers’ Saturday Night Live background. There’s also the oafish direction of Sam Weisman and—most of all—a pervasive, fusty atmosphere of ersatz sentimentality.