Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.

Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

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Movie review

'Dickie' isn't a complete dud

Published September 15, 2003

Dickie Roberts
Dickie Roberts stars David Spade as a 30-something actor who hires a family to help him relive his childhood.

Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star

Rating: PG-13

Summary: Dickie Roberts (David Spade), a washed-up Hollywood child star who is now in his 30s, is ready to get his career rolling again. Though his acting skills never truly flourished (and probably never will), he's determined to land a role in director Rob Reiner's new film. The role is childish, literally, and Reiner doesn't think Dickie could fit the mold because Dickie never lived a normal childhood and doesn't have the real-life experiences to pull from. Because the acquisition of this part would ultimately determine the fate of Dickie's career, he decides to hire a family to help him relive his childhood as a "normal" kid. It becomes a constant challenge to live in harmony with his "mom," Grace (Mary McCormack), who he's got the hots for, and his naive siblings Sam (Scott Terra) and Sally (Jenna Boyd) - or "prude and innocent," as he likes to call them - who are anything but welcoming.

My view: Surprisingly enough, this movie isn't nearly as horrendous as I was anticipating - and believe me, I was bracing for the worst (something along the lines of the previous Spade flop, Joe Dirt). But it caters to its intended teenage audience, with the life of the film coming from the sight gag humor and grossout jokes. That garnered a whole lot of laughter, especially Dickie's signature catch phrase, which you'd have to hear to believe. The overabundance of celebrity cameos (mostly by real-life former child stars) coupled with that grossout factor reminded me of a really drawn out Saturday Night Live skit. Spade had very good chemistry with the young actors, possibly because he feels more comfortable acting on that level and he's like a big kid himself. As time goes by, PG-13 movies seem to be pushing the limits of that rating harder and harder, and this one is riding right there on the border.

Recommendations: If being surrounded by a theater full of gabby teenagers annoys you, avoid this film! But if you fall into the age range, you'll have a good time, for sure.

Grade: C-

- Billy Norris, 15, is in the 10th grade at Seminole High School and is a former member of the Times X-Team.

[Last modified September 12, 2003, 14:19:50]

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