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Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star (2003)

 -  Comedy  -  5 September 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.6/10 from 10,415 users   Metascore: 36/100
Reviews: 115 user | 78 critic | 31 from

A thirty-something former child star hires a foster family to re-create the childhood he never had.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bobby Slayton ...
Michael Buffer
Dickie's Corner Man
Emmanuel's Entourage (as Joey 'Coco' Diaz)
Emmanuel's Entourage
Brian Clark ...
Guy in Car


TV child star of the '70s, Dickie Roberts is now 35 and parking cars. Craving to regain the spotlight, he auditions for a role of a normal guy, but the director quickly sees he is anything but normal. Desperate to win the part, Dickie hires a family to help him replay his childhood and assume the identity of an average, everyday kid. Several folk who are also involved in Dickie's special world include: Sidney, Dickie's longtime friend and agent; Cyndi, his on-again, off-again girlfriend; Peggy, Dickie's real mother; George, Dickie's adopted father figure; and Grace, his adopted mother figure. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


50 million people used to watch him on TV. Now he washes their cars.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for crude and sex-related humor, language and drug references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

5 September 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dickie Roberts: (Former) Child Star  »

Box Office


$17,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$321,157 (Australia) (20 February 2004)


$321,157 (Australia) (20 February 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Fred Wolf and David Spade originally wrote a skit in the '90s for Saturday Night Live (1975) about a child star rampage, spoofing The Silence of the Lambs (1991), for when Macaulay Culkin was hosting, but it was cut. The idea was later pitched for The WB, but they turned it down. It was eventually totally rewritten and turned into this movie, originally written as a dark comedy with more references to drug use by child stars. See more »


Grace Finney gets mad at Dickie for saying "crap" at the dinner table, yet minutes later she is fine with Sally saying that the tree house is "old and crappy". See more »


Dickie Roberts: When I was your age, I did whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.
Sally Finney: See, that might be why you're such a mess now.
Dickie Roberts: Oh. How dare you!
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the very end of the credits, David Spade can be heard in voice-over, talking directly to the audience. Among other things, he encourages moviegoers to abandon their trash in their seats, and accuses someone in the audience of farting (then admits it was he). See more »


References What's Happening!! (1976) See more »


Glimmer Gang Theme Song
Music and Lyrics by Tom Ashton
Performed by Tom Ashton, Dina Kay, Claysey Everett and Thomas J. Wendling
See more »

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User Reviews

A comedy devoid of any laughs is never a good thing
7 June 2010 | by (Guelph, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

I remember it was in late 2004 when I first discovered that this 2003 comedy, starring David Spade, existed. It had been over a year since its theatrical release, but late 2004 was when I came across some Internet discussions about it, and it seemed that the film had faced a lot of criticism. I was obviously in no hurry to see it, since it's been over five years since then and I finally rented it to watch for the first time this month. The only other movies I had seen in which Spade played a starring role were "Tommy Boy" and "Black Sheep", both co-starring Chris Farley. "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star" was the first film I saw starring Spade without Farley, made years after Farley's death. As much as many people like this movie, I can't say I'm one of them.

In the 1970's, Dickie Roberts was a child star who was famous for his role in a popular sitcom. However, this sitcom eventually lost popularity and was cancelled. Dickie was then abandoned by his mother and his acting career was over. The former child star is now in his thirties, working as a car parking valet, and he has become very unpopular. When he hears that Rob Reiner will soon be making a new movie called "Mr. Blake's Backyard", Dickie is convinced that getting a part in it will be a great opportunity for a comeback. After a bit of a struggle to get an audition, he finally gets to meet the filmmaker, who tells him that he is not suited for this role, as he didn't have a real childhood and doesn't know what it means to be normal. Since Reiner won't be casting right away, the washed-up actor decides to look for a family to live with for a while, so he can gain the right experience for the role.

The film starts with an introduction to the Dickie Roberts character and his past. I was already finding it unfunny at this point, only smiling VERY slightly during the part with his mother talking about how he auditioned for the role of Pippi Longstocking. After this sequence, we see David Spade's character get clobbered in a boxing match, and I could tell this part was supposed to make me laugh, but it failed miserably. Another lame scene follows, with Dickie and his girlfriend arguing after the match (her calling him a "puss" and such). Another memorably unfunny scene is Dickie trying to act like a six year old getting a bike for Christmas. Spade's antics can be pretty lame, and I didn't care much for his character here. I did smile at times, such as the part where Dickie thinks the Finney kids (in the family he moves in with) are frightened by his story about the cancelled sitcom when it's actually something else, and part of what the protagonist says while taunting bullies (though I didn't feel like that particular part should have made me smile, and I certainly didn't like watching the bullies before he comes along), but the smiles were very rare, and I never actually laughed. The story is also kind of dull, though it can be touching towards the end, and if it hadn't been for that, I would probably be giving "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star" a 4/10.

Before I watched this movie, I had low expectations. I had a feeling it was going to be fairly lame, and probably started having this feeling years before I actually saw the film. I guess I'm not a hardcore David Spade fan. Before seeing "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star", I had seen him in those two films with Chris Farley, and had also seen "Coneheads", in which he plays a smaller part, but to me, he didn't stand out in any of these. I'm not exactly sure what I really think of him as a comedian. By the time I saw him in this 2003 comedy, I hadn't seen him in anything else for a while, so I don't know how to compare his performances. Well, even if I didn't like this movie, it is certainly not a terrible comedy, and unlike some films I've seen and disliked, I'm not exactly puzzled by the appeal of this one. If you watch it, I'm sure it will help if you're a true David Spade fan. If you're not, then you MIGHT want to skip it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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