Picks and Pans Review: Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star

updated 09/15/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/15/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

David Spade, Mary McCormack, Jon Lovitz, Craig Bierko

Every summer a shamelessly silly movie manages to elicit more chuckles than it probably deserves, only this year's qualifier showed up after Labor Day. Welcome Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, a raffish comedy starring Spade (see page 79) as a Hollywood has-been longing for his '70s glory days, when he was the kid cut-up on a hit sitcom. (His trademark laughline was "That's nucking futs.") Now, hoping to have the childhood he missed, he pays a family to let him live with them for a month.

One doesn't want to oversell Dickie, but there's fun to be had here. The film especially scores with its jaundiced view of showbiz (Dickie plays poker with fellow where-are-they-nows Leif Garrett, Danny Bonaduce and Corey Feldman) and Dickie having the hots for his host mom (McCormack). And there's a nifty bit at the end where a roomful of ex-child and teen TV stars (including Dallas's Charlene Tilton) sing an amusing anthem about their pitiful plight. (PG-13) BOTTOM LINE: Better than you'd expect

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