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6 items from 2003


Dickie Roberts

22 September 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Opens

Friday, Sept. 5

A clear attempt to broaden David Spade's boxoffice appeal beyond the male teen demo, "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star" generally succeeds -- in hit-and-miss fashion -- at bridging the gap between unlikable jerk and misunderstood good guy, though it's still something of a leap to leading-man territory. It may not be ringing praise, but the Sam Weisman-helmed comedy stands heads and shoulders above 2001's dismal "Joe Dirt".

The tale of a one-time A-list moppet consumed with making a comeback is in many ways an ideal vehicle for Spade's particular -- some might say unfathomable -- brand of snide deadpan humor. Scripted by Spade and longtime "SNL" writer Fred Wolf, his creative partner on "Joe Dirt", the film has an irreverent affection for the cult of TV celebrity, and the presence of dozens of real-life former child stars is a definite hook, however slim. "Roberts" should eke out middling returns before segueing to video.

Dickie Roberts' life fell apart after his '70s hit series was canceled and he was abandoned by his single mom (Doris Roberts in a brief but vivid turn as a monster of a stage mother). An overgrown, obnoxious kid who had a career instead of a childhood, he believes screen success is the only way to regain self-respect and contentment.

His desperate attempts to get back in the spotlight only add to his humiliation, and his girlfriend (Alyssa Milano, an FCS in her own right) dumps him. During their regular poker games, he and his pals -- former child stars Leif Garrett, Barry Williams, Danny Bonaduce, Corey Feldman and Dustin Diamond -- dis movie stars, and, in a nice touch, Williams continually antes up "Brady Bunch" memorabilia.

The film wades through tired in-joke territory (Dickie searches for famous actors at AA meetings) and some thuddingly laughless stretches before finding its tentative footing. The final segments are some of the strongest

a more consistent satiric slant on the star-making machinery would have benefited the film as a whole.

Tipped to a juicy role in a Rob Reiner film, Dickie and his agent (Jon Lovitz) -- who compensates for ineptitude with an unsurpassed willingness to put it all on the line for his client -- get busy trying to arrange a meeting with the director. But it's Brendan Fraser (uncredited) who gets him in the door, even though Dickie mispronounces his name.

Determined to prove to the doubting Reiner that he can handle a role requiring firsthand experience of human emotions, Dickie sets out to fill in the missing part of his stunted life: childhood. After raising some cash from the sale of his sordid memoirs, he embarks on a crash course in being a kid, finding a family willing to show him the ropes for $20,000. The joke is that he lands in a suburban idyll straight out of a sitcom, with a dazzlingly good-looking mom and dad (Mary McCormack and Craig Bierko) and two kids (Scott Terra and Jenna Boyd) who are wholesome and down-to-earth.

As the story wends its way toward vague homilies -- it's not the fame and money Dickie misses but the love and adoration -- there's a realistic dynamic between Spade and the kids. McCormack is fine as the sensible and sexy, too-good-to-be-true mom, but the supposed chemistry between Dickie and Grace is pushing things a bit. To its credit, the technically polished film doesn't try too hard to have it both ways -- comic and earnest -- and usually undercuts the sappy moments with insolence.

DICKIE ROBERTS: FORMER CHILD STAR

Paramount Pictures

Happy Madison Prods.

Credits: Director: Sam Weisman

Screenwriters: Fred Wolf, David Spade

Producers: Adam Sandler, Jack Giarraputo

Executive producer: Fred Wolf

Director of photography: Thomas Ackerman

Production designer: Dina Lipton

Music: Chrisophe Beck, Waddy Wachtel

Co-producer: Blair Breard

Costume designer: Lisa Jensen

Editor: Roger Bondelli. Cast: Dickie Roberts: David Spade

Grace Finney: Mary McCormack

Sidney Wernick: Jon Lovitz

George Finney: Craig Bierko

Cyndi: Alyssa Milano

Peggy Roberts: Doris Roberts

Sam Finney: Scott Terra

Sally Finney: Jenna Boyd

Mrs. Gertrude: Edie McClurg

Themselves: Rob Reiner, Leif Garrett, Tom Arnold, Brendan Fraser, Dick Van Patten, Barry Williams, Danny Bonaduce, Corey Feldman, Dustin Diamond

Running time -- 98 minutes

MPAA rating: PG-13 »

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Profit deals for 'Raymond' trio

26 August 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Patricia Heaton, Peter Boyle and Doris Roberts are suddenly feeling well-loved by the profit participants in Everybody Loves Raymond, but their fellow co-star Brad Garrett appears to still be on strike from the hit CBS comedy. In a move to quell the storm among cast members that has hampered production on the show's upcoming eighth season, sources said Monday that Heaton, Boyle and Roberts have each been granted small stakes in the backend profits from the show, which is poised to generate upward of $500 million in the first five years of its syndication afterlife. The salary sweeteners for the trio came out of the pockets of existing profit participants on the show -- including series creator Phil Rosenthal, star Ray Romano, CBS, David Letterman's Worldwide Pants production banner and HBO (also a co-producer) -- who agreed to give up a sliver of their backend stakes to benefit the co-stars. »

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Profit deals for 'Raymond' trio

26 August 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Patricia Heaton, Peter Boyle and Doris Roberts are suddenly feeling well-loved by the profit participants in Everybody Loves Raymond, but their fellow co-star Brad Garrett appears to still be on strike from the hit CBS comedy. In a move to quell the storm among cast members that has hampered production on the show's upcoming eighth season, sources said Monday that Heaton, Boyle and Roberts have each been granted small stakes in the backend profits from the show, which is poised to generate upward of $500 million in the first five years of its syndication afterlife. The salary sweeteners for the trio came out of the pockets of existing profit participants on the show -- including series creator Phil Rosenthal, star Ray Romano, CBS, David Letterman's Worldwide Pants production banner and HBO (also a co-producer) -- who agreed to give up a sliver of their backend stakes to benefit the co-stars. »

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Action on 'Raymond' set

19 August 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Production got under way on the upcoming season of CBS' Everybody Loves Raymond on Monday but not with a full complement of stars. Patricia Heaton returned to work after calling in sick last week, an absence that forced the start of production to be delayed one week (HR 8/14). Co-star Brad Garrett has gone public with his contractual dispute with CBS and Raymond producers; the actor's representatives confirmed last week that Garrett will not return to work unless he receives a salary increase (HR 8/13). Garrett, whose salary of about $160,000 per episode is significantly less than that of prominent co-stars on other hit sitcoms, had already been written out of the new season's premiere episode because of the ongoing salary strife. Meanwhile, despite Heaton's return, work on the new season was still hampered Monday by the absence of co-stars Peter Boyle and Doris Roberts, both of whom called in sick. »

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'Everybody Loves Raymond' Sees More Delays

18 August 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Production on the season premiere of Everybody Loves Raymond was pushed back again Tuesday after Patricia Heaton called in sick for the second day in a row. Her two-day absence, officially due to a migraine headache, has added to already-existing problems between the show's bosses and her co-star Brad Garrett, who was written out of the first episode of the new season after he refused to return to work until TV network CBS discussed his pay rise. Garrett's representatives say in a statement, "CBS elected to make a one-year deal with Ray Romano making him the highest-paid sitcom actor ever. Ray deserves every penny, plus the profits he will earn. At the same time, despite our repeated attempts to discuss Brad's salary over the past even months, CBS has refused to talk to us. Brad earns less than 10 per cent of Ray's salary and is the lowest paid member of a grossly underpaid supporting cast." Garrett's representatives at Raw Talent agency add, "If we don't come to a fair deal, we feel comfortable walking away." CBS responds, "We have accommodated Brad's request to negotiate new contracts twice over the past four years. The most recent agreement calls for Brad's services through the eight season of Everybody Loves Raymond. It is unfortunate that he is not honoring his contract." Sources say Heaton and co-stars Doris Roberts and Peter Boyle are also unhappy with their pay-checks. »

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Montgomery, Gibson watch over 'Waylon'

2 June 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Thomas Gibson and Poppy Montgomery are set and Doris Roberts is in negotiations to star in Raising Waylon, an original movie from Dan Wigutow Prods. and Sony Pictures TV. The project, written by Neena Beber (MTV's Daria), centers on Julia (Montgomery) and Reg (Gibson), who, after one disastrous date 10 years ago, have shared a mutual dislike for each other and have been distant godparents to their friend's child, Waylon. This all changes when the two are given joint custody of 9-year-old Waylon after his parents' sudden death. At first, Julia and Reg try to lay Waylon off on his great aunt (Roberts), but that proves not to be a good match. »

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6 items from 2003


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