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Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star


  • Assuming, even after Lost & Found and Joe Dirt, that inveterate supporting player David Spade somehow qualifies as leading-man material
  • Cannibalizing the premise of Billy Madison, which starred Dickie Roberts producer Adam Sandler as a maladjusted, emotionally stunted man-child who must relive childhood alongside actual children
  • Creepily giving Spade a love interest (Mary McCormack) who doubles as his mother surrogate
  • Following in the footsteps of Joe Dirt by taking cheap shots at a pathetic lead character who embodies a much-abused cultural stereotype, then trying to elicit sympathy for that character's plight

    Star/writer David Spade and co-writer Fred Wolf

    Tone Of Commentary
    Low-key, sarcastic, self-conscious, and self-critical. Spade and Wolf constantly second-guess the film, bemoaning dead time, drawn-out exposition, extended setups that hinder comic momentum, and the compromises inherent in studio filmmaking. They're also passive-aggressive, regularly complaining about hokey touches before insisting half-heartedly that they're necessary for the film to work emotionally.

    What Went Wrong
    Spade and Wolf regret the film's sentimentality, especially the piano music that plays during particularly schmaltzy parts. Their combined comments raise a question: Why didn't Wolf and Spade channel their extensive knowledge of the film's weaknesses into improving it while it was being made?

    Comments On The Cast
    Spade comments on how terrible he looks throughout, as well as how badly he acquits himself during the film's much-maligned dramatic moments. Bit-player and real-life kickboxer Emmanuel Lewis is praised for his fighting skills. Bit-player and real-life Kickboxer 2, 3, and 4 star Sasha Mitchell is also singled out for praise. The non-kickboxing child actors are predictably praised, especially Spade's surrogate sister, whom he describes as "hot" before catching himself and calling her cute.

    Inevitable Dash Of Pretension
    When not cringing over director- and studio-ordained sentimentality, Spade and Wolf pretend they succeeded in crafting a comedy with "heart."

    Commentary In A Nutshell
    After Wolf feigns snoring during a tender scene with Spade and McCormack, Spade says sarcastically, "People are bawling right now... They're bawling because they're going, 'Why isn't it Jim Carrey?'"