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DICKIE ROBERTS: FORMER CHILD STAR

Adam Sandlerís Happy Madison productions usually adhere to the same formula: an adolescent in a manís body gets involved in mildly funny and often gross scenarios before finally learning something during a few trite moments of sappiness. But Dickie Roberts deals with a subject thatís actually quite tragic: show-biz kids robbed of their childhood and then forgotten as dysfunctional adults.

Star/co-writer David Spade and director Sam Weisman recognize this problem and try to compensate by heaping on more sap; it seems that every "funny" scene is followed by a sentimental one. Rather than the black comedy the subject deserves, the result is a disjointed, unprofound comedy with a heart but few laughs. In order to research a potential career-resurrecting role, Spadeís title character decides to learn what a real childhood is like by moving in with a normal family and acting like a child. Spade does his smarmy shtick, of course, and heís always good for a few amusing sarcastic, childish bits. There is one great moment involving a champagne bottle and Dickieís girlfriend, whoís played by Alyssa Milano. Rachel Dratch, Mary McCormack, and a slew of real-life former childhood stars also appear. (99 minutes)


Issue Date: September 5 - September 11, 2003
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