Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star review

David Spade as a self-absorbed Hollywood failure? Must've been a short audition. In fact, he's so perfectly cast that he proves absolutely inspired... Until the movie wimps out halfway through.

The first half offers plenty, though, with Spade playing a bitter kiddie actor who's grown into a loathsome parking valet. His fall from grace is a cruel affair, filled with degrading horrors including a televised thrashing. Then Dickie Roberts reveals itself as schizoid, veering into charm mode as Dickie hires a surrogate family to help his emotional development and thus earn himself a role in a tear-jerking movie - helmed by Rob Reiner, here popping up in a cameo.

In place of venal comedy we get syrup mixed with the odd jab of slapstick. Surprising, considering Spade co-wrote and should have known better than to abandon his caustic alter ego partway through. You'd be better off watching his straight-to-video extravaganza Joe Dirt - and we never thought we'd say that.

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