Dickie Roberts Former Child Star
In his early 30s Dickie Roberts (David Spade) is at the end of his rope. Once the child all America loved, thanks to a wildly successful sitcom and a catch phrase on par with Gary Coleman's "What you talkin' about?", Dickie has hit rock bottom. Now parking cars and appearing in celebrity boxing matches (Emmanuel Lewis of Webster cleans Dickie's clock), he's waiting for a happy ending so he can cash in on his autobiography. Hearing that director Rob Reiner's next film has a role in it that could resurrect his career, Dickie lands a meeting. Unfortunately for Dickie, the part requires someone who had a normal childhood.
To experience the childhood he never had, Dickie runs an ad in search of a normal family he can live with. George (Craig Bierko), a slimy car salesman who doesn't realize how good he has it--he has a nice suburban home, a beautiful, kind wife (Mary McCormack), and two smart, healthy kids (Scott Terra and Jenna Boyd)--jumps at the chance and invites Dickie to move in.
At first, George's family treats Dickie coldly. But Dickie soon dispenses with some bullies who've been picking on George's son, Sam. George's daughter, Sally, comes around when Dickie helps her with cheerleading try-outs. And what does the down-and-out thespian get in return? He learns some bike tricks, hangs out in a tree house, and is taught to use a "Slip and Slide" properly. And when we learn that George's wife, Grace, is lonely, we can see where her relationship with Dickie is headed.
There are laughs, but not nearly enough of them. Especially awkward is the mixture of crude, hard-edged comedy and Capracorn sweetness. The film does prove genuinely amusing when actual former child stars pop up and hobnob with Dickie. A late-night poker game with Barry Williams (Greg from The Brady Bunch), Danny Bonaduce (Danny from The Partridge Family), Corey Feldman (Stand by Me), and Dustin Diamond (Skreech from Saved by the Bell) is very amusing but much too brief.
The film is a groaner at times, but be advised to stay until the credits when former child stars perform a "We Are the World"-style rant.
(Running time 1:39, rated PG-13)
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