Rosemarie Ute Hoffman
Starring: David Spade, Scott Terra, Craig Bierko, Danny Bonaduce, Florence Henderson, Jenna Boyd | Directed by: Sam Weisman | Produced by: Tom McNulty | Written by: Fred Wolf II, David Spade | Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “50 million people used to watch him on TV. Now he washes their cars. TV child star of the ’70s, Dickie Roberts is now 35 and parking cars. Craving to regain the spotlight, he auditions for a role of a “normal” guy, but the director quickly sees he is anything but normal. Desperate to win the part, Dickie hires a family to help him “replay” his childhood and assume the identity of an average, everyday kid. Several folk who are also involved in Dickie’s special world include: Sidney, Dickie’s longtime friend and agent; Cyndi, his on-again, off-again girlfriend; Peggy, Dickie’s real mother; George, Dickie’s adopted father figure; and Grace, his adopted mother figure.”
This film is a sort of E! True Hollywood Story of Dickie Roberts (David Spade, Finch of the TV series “Just Shoot Me”) a former childhood star of the Glimmer Gang whose catch phrase is “nucking futs.” The cast of childhood stars is a list of “who’s who.” You’re sure to find a favorite among them and some you forgot about.
I wouldn’t recommend this film to adolescent teens or under. It sends poor messages; although in the end, Dickie does get it. Parents, if you decide to see this flick with your children, you’ll be sprinting alongside them trying to undo what ever took root—while explaining the dysfunction of it all. The movie has many expletives, crude behavior, and words of blasphemy. Some of the following stand out among the rest. There is a short but nonetheless disturbing scene of a homosexual man who claims to eat a Twinkie with one bite, and completes the mission. Dickie encourages children in a secret way to curse and when getting the prize from a cereal box pulls out his own “prize”—his middle finger. The phrase Dickie repeated, “I’ll nail this like Jesus the carpenter” is by far the lowest.
Dickie is desperate to make a comeback and discovers his need to recreate a childhood in order to land the leading role in a Rob Reiner movie. Thus, he sells his autobiography to hire a family and stumbles upon the true journey—finding real love. A love that is encouraging and comforting, with boundaries—every child’s requirements to grow into a “normal” adult. This is something that Dickie certainly lacked—hence, his transformation from the weird angry guy.
Throughout Dickie’s quest, you’ll hear derogatory statements from those who should speak quite the opposite. The only promising relationship is that of his agent played by Jon Lovitz. In fact, he’s willing to do anything to give Dickie the opportunity to get an audition, even agreeing to give one of his kidneys as payment.
As Dickie gets in touch with his inner child, that has never developed properly, he finds a world unexplored with bicycles, lullabies from a mother, and helping his younger sister win a contest. These experiences are paramount to a “grown up” Dickie landing the role of his dreams. We all have a desire to bridge the gap between our meaningful moments of youth, those that touch the deepest part of us, and our accomplishments of adulthood. We try our best to be recognized with our contributions of gifts and talents, needing to be loved. Perhaps that’s a desire we’ll never outgrow.
One scene includes a moving memory of a Candyland board game on a Christmas morning that will leave some grabbing for a tissue—this movie’s glimmer of hope for the hopeless. Yet, we must remember, holding on to an event or thing to be happy is a false sense of contentment. Don’t miss out on the real thing! Let your valuable childhood memories of pure love speak louder than any disappointment or contrary circumstance. Dickie did!
In the end, Dickie passes up his dream and realizes what he wants isn’t necessarily what he needs. In his pursuit of real love, he discovers it was closer than he could have imagined.
In the discovery of love, people often misconstrue what they feel, for “real” love. They mistake the thrill of materialism or landing the perfect acting role with happiness, which is fleeting in the scope of eternity. There is only One that can fill that void!
David Spade is a crafty actor—he’s believable. Many will root for him throughout this tale. But that doesn’t negate the offensive scenes, including the closing credits with a remake of “We Are The World” with changed lyrics of vulgarity.
Violence: Minor | Profanity: Heavy | Sex/Nudity: ModerateYear of Release—2003