Spade shines as child-star

"This is nucking futs!" said Dickie Roberts (David Spade) in his famous line from his child-star days on the sitcom "The Glimmer Gang."

Those were the days when his mother (Doris Roberts), loved and paid attention to him. However, his mother left when the show was cancelled after six years and poor Dickie had to fend for himself. When the film opens, he is working unhappily as a valet in Hollywood. After a disastrous stint on a celebrity boxing show his girlfriend Cyndi (real life child-star Alyssa Milano) leaves him stranded on the side of the road, making Dickie even more miserable.

When Dickie hears that Rob Reiner (played by himself) is auditioning for his new film, "Mr. Blake's Backyard," he does just about everything to get an interview with the famous director. "Everything" happened to Mr. Blake, including "borrowing" a car, attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, and meeting Brendan Fraser.

Unfortunately for Dickie, the director doesn't believe that he is capable of playing the role because he didn't have a real childhood, and is a therefore not "a real person." Dickie is heartbroken until he comes up with the idea of spending $20,000 to hire a family for a month in order to regain his lost youth. So, he moves in with the wary Finney family.

Upon arriving at the Finney's Los Angeles home, Dickie finds out that Grace's husband George (Craig Bierko) had made arrangements for Dickie to live with them without consulting her or their two kids, Sam and Sally (Scott Terra and Jenna Boyd).

Needless to say, not one of them was thrilled about having a total stranger live in their home. Dickie's strange habits, such as wearing gloves all the time and random outbursts, turned the family off at first. He even manages to wreck their house when his waterbed bursts.

But, after a difficult few days, Dickie slowly begins to warm their hearts, as well as those of the audience. He helps Sally try out for the pep squad, helps Sam find the courage to ask out the new neighbor, and helps support Grace through family troubles. He becomes more involved in their lives than even George, who spends more and more time at his car lot.

Dickie's slightly over-the-top agent, Sidney Wernick (Jon Lovitz), tries his very hardest to schedule an audition for Dickie with Reiner, and it is only after he makes a personal "sacrifice" that he obtains one.

As far as a comedy goes, this film had its share of good moments and jokes that flopped. Sometimes the jokes got in the way of some really tender moments, but other gags (including one involving the neighbor's pet rabbit) will keep you laughing for days.

Spade pulled off one of his best performances of all time in this film. His co-star, Mary McCormack, also gave an excellent performance as stressed-out mom Grace Finney. After doing several Broadway plays and independent films, McCormack does an excellent job in one of her first mainstream movies.

So, did Dickie get the part? Did the neighbors realize what really happened to their rabbit? Did Dickie and Cyndi get back together? Spend a few bucks and have a fun night out with your friends. You'll be glad you went to see "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star"

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