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Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star Review

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A washed up sit-com star hires an all-American suburban family to relive the childhood he never had

★★★★★

Paul Thomas Anderson made it okay to laugh at Adam Sandler, but who will spread the love for David Spade? So reviled that he makes Rob Schneider look like Jim Carrey by comparison, Spade's oeuvre is a magnet to those of us in thrall to the car crash magnetism of bad American comedy.

Dickie Roberts, though, isn't quite the stinker it might have been. Admittedly it wastes a killer premise – a faded sit-com star hires a suburban family to relive the childhood he never had – but Spade's self-deprecating performance gives this formulaic loser-learns-a-life-lesson flick a likeable quality that he says he knows it is not even Viz, let alone Shakespeare.

The over-sentimental ending grates, and the talented McCormack is wasted (as usual), but the in-jokes hit the spot and an all-star choir of you-thought-they-were-dead TV has-beens ends the film on a high note.

Considering its feeble conceit and the grating inanity of leading man David Spade, Dickie Roberts is nowhere near as irritating as it should be. The film fails to pull off its intended commentary on the transience of celebrity but does manage to become a vaguely touching comedy.