Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star Movie Poster Image
Not at all funny David Spade movie.
  • PG-13
  • 2003
  • 99 minutes

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 16 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

Lots of crude humor.

Violence

Accidents are played for laughs. Comic peril.

Sex

Leering sexual humor.

Language

Very strong and crude language for a PG-13.

Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

References to alcohol and drug abuse.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there's lots of stuff here that you won't want your tween seeing or repeating. This movie contains very strong language for a PG-13, including crude humor, alcohol and drug references, and a joke about Jesus that some people may find offensive.

User Reviews

Adult Written byG3 April 9, 2008
Teen, 16 years old Written byCurbspaget April 9, 2008
Teen, 14 years old Written byAge appropriate guid August 22, 2015

What's the story?

Dickie Roberts was the son of an overbearing mother who pushed him to be the child star of a hugely successful TV show called The Glimmer Gang, complete with a precious tagline ("This is nucking futs!") that propelled him into stardom and had him washed up by the time he was seven. Fighting to get back in the business, he begs director Rob Reiner to cast him in a role that Sean Penn is competing for. When Reiner tells Dickie that he's unsuitable for the part because he has no idea of what it's like to have a normal childhood, Dickie puts an ad in the paper to find a family that will let him move into their house and live like a kid, as one character says, to "reboot him like a computer."

Is it any good?

DICKIE ROBERTS: FORMER CHILD STAR just isn't a very funny movie. At best, audiences who don't think too much will laugh once or twice then forget the whole thing before they reach the door of the theater. Of course the premise makes no sense, but then the way it's carried out doesn't make any sense either. It's just a string of listless skits. The movie feels haphazard and thrown together, with a bike-riding scene that ends up like a Jackass stunt and a disturbingly Oedipal "your mom's hot" running joke. Just to show how lazy this film is, when Dickie gets back on the scene, instead of writing something funny, they use old footage of David Spade on Jay Leno's show, on the cover of Rolling Stone, and performing with Aerosmith. Or maybe that was in hopes of reminding us that despite this movie, David Spade is actually a pretty cool guy.

There are a few moments that remind you how talented Spade is, particularly when he spouts off smart-aleck remarks, but they are more suitable for stand-up routines than for depiction on screen with other actors. His insults to some school bullies would be funnier if we didn't see him actually using that language to people who are, after all, children. The movie seems to applaud him not just for crudely insulting children, but also for making a fake 911 call and giving someone the finger. Episodes like giving a bath to a dead rabbit, applauding "Mom" for rudely telling off an imperious neighbor, the exchange of a kidney transplant for an audition, and hitting someone in the head with a champagne cork are sour and weird. Ultimately, though, the movie's lame humor is less painful than the supposedly touching material about how love is all that really matters.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about some of their favorite child stars and what they would and would not like about being famous.

Movie details

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate