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Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star

When did Corey Haim get fat? Sadly, that question — prompted by the erstwhile '80s teen heartthrob's brief appearance as one of 20-plus former child stars who do a funny "We Are the World"-type group sing-along over the closing credits — is probably the most compelling one to come out of Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star (2003). The rest of the movie is a toothless, predictable showbiz comedy about the trials and tribulations of Dickie (David Spade), a has-been sitcom golden child who would do anything for a comeback. That "anything" turns out to be re-living his childhood by moving in with the "normal" Finney family for a month is pretty indicative of the kind of movie this is. Rhyme, reason, and the time-space continuum are tossed out the window as obnoxious, inappropriate Dickie quickly manages to bond with his new "siblings" (Scott Terra and Jenna Boyd) and make eyes at his pretty new "mom," Grace (Mary McCormack). (Seriously: How do Dickie and the Finneys manage to scare away the neighbors, gloat over their departure, and welcome the new folks all in what appears to be the same day?) Spade being his snarky, mouthy self, he does manage to toss off a few good insults and one-liners, but even cameos by a bevy of real former child stars and familiar TV faces (including Dustin Diamond, Corey Feldman, Leif Garrett, Barry Williams, Edie McClurg, Doris Roberts, and even Alyssa Milano as Dickie's bitchy girlfriend, Cindy) can't save Dickie. By trying to make cute and slapsticky for the kiddie crowd, Spade loses the older, more sophisticated viewers who would really appreciate scenes like the one in which Dickie and his poker buddies mock magazine cover boys George Clooney and Brad Pitt. And by constantly referencing the classic '70s and '80s sitcoms and fads that older audience members know and love, Spade bores the young fry. Ultimately Dickie Roberts is just as aimless and forgettable as its main character; for a truly edgy comedy about TV starring real-life has-beens, try Jane White Is Sick and Twisted instead. Nevertheless, Paramount gives Dickie the star treatment on its Special Collector's Edition DVD. The film is presented in a nice anamorphic transfer (2.35:1) accompanied by clear Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (English and French 2.0 Surround tracks are also available, as are English subtitles). Extras include nine deleted scenes (one is an alternate ending), the extended "Child Stars on Your Television" music video and an accompanying featurette, story and "making-of" featurettes, the Dickie Roberts installment of Comedy Central's "Reel Comedy," a pair of commentaries (one by director Sam Weisman, the other by Spade and co-screenwriter Fred Wolf), a trailer, one Easter egg, and previews. Keep-case.
—Betsy Bozdech



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