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8 items from 2003


Spade joins 'Rules' family as guest

20 November 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

David Spade has signed on to do a multiple-episode guest shot on ABC's 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter. The actor-comedian will play a relative of the family at the center of the Touchstone TV show, which has undergone a transformation this season following the death of star John Ritter in September. It's still undetermined whether Spade will do two or three episodes, a Touchstone spokeswoman said Wednesday. Spade is being courted by several networks to develop a starring comedy vehicle, but the deal with ABC and Touchstone at present only covers his services on 8 Simple Rules. It's also unclear when those episodes will air. 8 Simple Rules, which dealt with the death of Ritter's character in an hourlong episode that aired earlier this month, is on production hiatus until after the Thanksgiving holiday. Production on Spade's episodes will probably begin next month, the spokeswoman said. Spade first gained fame with his 1990-96 stint on NBC's Saturday Night Live. He segued into a co-starring role on the NBC sitcom Just Shoot Me from 1997-2002. More recently, he has starred in the features Joe Dirt and Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star. Spade is repped by Endeavor and Brillstein-Grey. »

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Dickie Roberts

22 September 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News 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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Toy Company Sues Paramount

15 September 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Leading American toy maker Wham-o Inc. is suing Paramount Pictures for featuring one of their products in a new movie without its permission. The manufacturer is unhappy the Hollywood studio used its Slip 'N Slide outdoor water toy without authorization in Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, which stars David Spade. And Wham-O is especially furious with one scene where Spade's character dives onto a dry Slip 'N Slide - which is meant to be wet - and rolls over with painful red marks all over his chest, screaming, 'Oooh, it stings.' The scene also features in Paramount's trailers for the comedy flick. The manufacturer's marketing director, Peter Sgromo, says, "Wham-O is concerned about the depicted misuse of its product in the film and its advertising, particularly the potential for injury to children and even adults who, after viewing the scene, might use the product in the same reckless manner." He adds the film "violates all safety guidelines that are clearly marked on the product and the packaging" and implies Wham-O allowed their product to be portrayed in this light. But a senior Paramount executive dismissed the suit as "entirely without legal merit". »

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Final boxoffice: 'Dickie Roberts' hauls in $6.7 mil

8 September 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

You know summer is truly over when the top-grossing film at the boxoffice in North America takes in less than $7 million, which was the case this weekend. Paramount's "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star" debuted in the top spot with $6.7 million, just edging out the $6.6 million scared up by United Artists' "Jeepers Creepers 2" in its sophomore frame. "Roberts", a comedy starring David Spade, is about a former child star attempting to rekindle his career by reliving his childhood as a "normal" kid. According to the distributor, the PG-13-rated film appealed mostly to parents and kids and played well to both. "Jeepers" placed second and was down 64% from its debut, taking its total after 10 days to $27.3 million. The only other film opening in wide release this weekend was 20th Century Fox's "The Order", an R-rated supernatural mystery thriller starring Heath Ledger and written and directed by Brian Helgeland. The two also worked together on Sony's "A Knight's Tale". "The Order" arrived in the sixth slot with a discouraging $4.4 million, less than anticipated. »

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'Dickie Roberts' hauls in $7 mil; 'Order' disappoints

8 September 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

You know summer is truly over when the top-grossing film at the boxoffice in North America takes in less than $8 million, which was the case this weekend. Paramount's Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star debuted in the top spot with an estimated $7 million, just edging out the estimated $6.7 million scared up by United Artists' Jeepers Creepers 2 in its sophomore frame. Roberts, a comedy starring David Spade, is about a former child star attempting to rekindle his career by reliving his childhood as a "normal" kid. According to the distributor, the PG-13-rated film appealed mostly to parents and kids and played well to both. Jeepers placed second and was down 56% from its debut, taking its total after 10 days to an estimated $27.4 million. The only other film opening in wide release this weekend was 20th Century Fox's The Order, an R-rated supernatural mystery thriller starring Heath Ledger and written and directed by Brian Helgeland. The two also worked together on Sony's A Knight's Tale. The Order arrived in the sixth slot with a discouraging estimate of $4.3 million, less than anticipated. »

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'Dickie Roberts' tops boxoffice as summer fades away

7 September 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Fall has definitely set in at the nation's cinemas as Paramount's David Spade comedy "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star" took first place at the weekend boxoffice with an estimated $7 million, according to Sunday's studio figures. The weekend's only other new wide release, 20th Century Fox's supernatural thriller "The Order", opened at No. 6 with an estimated $4.3 million. Last weekend's champ, MGM/UA's "Jeepers Creepers 2", dropped one notch to second place with an estimated $6.7 million. Buena Vista's summer smash "Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl" took in an estimated $5.5 million in third to raise its cume to about $282 million. The distributor's "Freaky Friday" was a close fourth with an estimated $5.1 million as the body-switching comedy's cume rose to about $97.2 million. Sony's "S.W.A.T". rounded out the weekend top five with an estimated $4.6 million. The actioner has collected an estimated $108.8 million to date. »

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Sharon Osbourne Talk Show Plagued by Problems

31 July 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Morale on the set of rock matriarch Sharon Osbourne's upcoming talk show is dangerously low because pre-production has been beset by a wealth of problems. The Sharon Osbourne Show is set to debut on September 15, but celebrity guests have proved difficult to book - and two producers are so stressed they ended up leaving the studio in an ambulance, according to the New York Post's Pagesix website. A studio source reveals, "We're six weeks from debuting and we really don't have a formula that works. Sharon is lovely. She's smart. Everybody loves Sharon and no one wants to do a show that will embarrass her. But the executives have changed their minds 10,000 times and it's like we're starting from scratch." Some staff have been working on the show for two months, but stress has proved so great two producers were admitted to hospital - one suffering a seizure and the other an asthma attack. The source adds, "The whole staff feels beaten down and exhausted. Everybody wants to leave. There's a sense of mutiny." Jim Paratore, president of Telepictures Productions, said on Monday, "This show won't be like any other show on TV. The Sharon Osbourne Show will combine celebrity segments a la Live With Regis And Kelly, human interest stories a la Oprah, plus musical guests and pre-taped mini-reality segments. It's really three shows in one, and that's why it's been such a difficult start-up. It's always been a very ambitious show. It takes a while to get everybody on the same page." So far the only celebrities lined-up by bookers are David Spade and Bow Wow, and Paratore admits, "Morale is mixed. The people doing good are feeling good, the people who are not, are not." »

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'Shoot Me' pulled; Levitan pistol-hot

24 April 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

The bullets are flying over Just Shoot Me. After a disastrous ratings performance earlier this week, NBC informed the producers Wednesday that it was immediately pulling the Universal Studios-produced comedy from the schedule and shelving 13 unaired episodes until sometime in the summer. The workplace comedy starring David Spade will be temporarily replaced with specials through the upcoming sweep, including "The Most Outrageous Game Show Moments 4" on May 6. The move drew an outraged response from Just Shoot Me executive producer Steve Levitan, who accused NBC entertainment president Jeff Zucker of breaking his word about the show's future and killing it this season through poor scheduling and a lack of promotion. Levitan said that at the final season taping last month, "Jeff Zucker came and assured our cast, promised our cast, that (NBC) would not pull us and they would be airing these episodes. Now it's clear to me his word meant nothing. It's a real slap in the face to the show and the crew for NBC to treat the show the way they've treated it." NBC and Zucker declined comment. »

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8 items from 2003


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