Free Enterprise is a dysfunctional love story about two avid "Star Trek" fans, Robert (Rafer Weigel) and Mark (Eric McCormack), who meet their idol, William Shatner, and discover he's nothing like his fictional counterpart... more ». With their illusions shattered, the two friends must face their fears about the future in this contemporary comedy that combines the hip, L.A. romantic milieu of "Swingers," with the knowing pop culture sophistication of "Clerks." William Shatner, Rafer Weigel, Eric McCormack« less
Tom T. (CaptNemo) from ISELIN, NJ Reviewed on 3/1/2008...
An interesting look into the minds of 2 Star Trek fans. This film shows that Bill Shatner "Gets it." He understands the way fans can be and he just rolls along with it. Audie England is a Dream Come True-type girl. She's also a fan, not crazy, not asexual/non-sexual and very beautiful. There are very few of those around, believe me. A treat from beginning to end.
No Tears for Shatner
Michael R Gates | Nampa, ID United States | 03/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In this hilarious indie film--very loosely based on the real-life experiences of scripters Mark Altman and Robert Burnett--STAR TREK's William Shatner is cast in the role he was born to play--William Shatner.Mark (Eric McCormack of TV's WILL & GRACE) and Robert (Rafer Weigel) are 20-something science-fiction geeks employed at the fringes of the movie industry--Mark edits a movie-fan magazine that is an obvious take-off on FANGORIA and STARLOG; Robert is a film editor at a direct-to-video film studio called Full Eclipse, a blatant parody of the real-life studio Full Moon--who one day run into their childhood hero, William "Captain Kirk" Shatner, at a purely chance meeting in a second-hand bookstore. But their mental image of Shatner is shattered when they see that the STAR TREK icon is not like his on-screen persona but is, in reality, just another egocentric actor with numerous human foibles.Nonetheless, Mark and Robert are still smitten enough to pursue a friendship with "Bill" and promise to use their influence in "the industry" to help him get his pet project off the ground. And that project is? Well, it seems that Shatner wants to create a musical version of Shakespeare's JULIUS CAESAR in which the actor will play all the parts himself. (When Mark and Robert point out that playing both Caesar and Brutus means that Shatner will have to stab himself in the back, the actor replies, "So? I've done it before.")Along the way, all three "boys" do a bit of maturing and start to grow beyond their prolonged childhoods. Robert gains a love interest (played by beautiful actress Audie England) and starts to take his career seriously; Mark gets over his "mid-life" crisis and accepts the fact that his 30th birthday draws nigh; and Bill's romancing of a pretty club owner (Deborah Van Valkenburgh, of TV's TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT) helps deflate his ego a bit.The script for FREE ENTERPRISE is well written and witty, the talented cast delivers humorous yet warmly empathetic performances, and the high production values make this indie film look like it was produced on a larger budget and at a mainstream studio. The film has also won numerous awards, including Best New Writer(s) and Best Director at the 1998 AFI Film Fest, the Audience Award at the 1999 Newport Beach Film Festival, and the Saturn Award for the year 2000 from The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films. Yet FREE ENTERPRISE has never had a massive following and, consequently, has never fared too well financially. On one hand, it's not too hard to understand why this feature never became a MAINSTREAM hit. The dialogue is replete with SF, Fantasy, Comic Book, and Horror references that are too esoteric for non-genre viewers, and William Shatner's outrageously self-deprecating performance will mean little to anyone unfamiliar with the STAR TREK mythos. On the other hand, that specificity is what makes the film so thoroughly enjoyable and endearing to hard-core genre fans. So it is reasonable to conclude that, being geeky fanboys themselves, Burnett and Altman created FREE ENTERPRISE not as a lucrative commercial venture--despite the capitalistic title--but rather as a gift to all the other geeky genre fans out there.Hard-core genre fans will get a real kick out of watching FREE ENTERPRISE, and the DVD from Pioneer Video is a must-own for any serious collector of SF and STAR TREK films. Although the widescreen transfer is letterbox and not anamorphic, the transfer is nonetheless beautifully crisp, the colors appear accurately balanced, and very few, if any, digital artifacts or filmic artifacts are noticeable. And the disc is packed with cool extras, including a feature commentary from filmmakers Burnett and Altman, a making-of featurette, and the outrageous Bard-inspired rap video by William Shatner and hip hop artist Rated R."
A very needed film
Joseph Dewey | Orem, UT USA | 06/05/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love watching old science fiction movies. I love quoting my favorite parts from these movies. This is not a star trek film. This is not a William Shatner film. This is a film about people like me.The film is basically about a group of 4 or so friends, who are science fiction junkies. It talks about their jobs, their girlfriends, and their obsession with science fiction memorabilia and movies. They bump into Shatner, who turns out to be pretty messed up, and they discuss Shatner's obsession with the play Julius Caesar. Trek fans, be warned-Bill Shatner's appearance is minimal.This film was very needed, mostly to help people like me understand that I'm not losing my mind. This is a constant danger if you quote, revel in, and fantasize about too much science fiction. The main characters of this film do exactly that. And, even though they are not the most likeable people, they are likeable enough, and reasonably complex characters.I loved the incessant references to various science fiction shows and movies. Logan's Run could possibly be the best Sci-Fi movie of all time, and there were just about as many references to each of Logan's Run, Star Trek, and Star Wars. However, there are references to dozens of other science fiction movies.As a final note, I always enjoy movies like this that use a vast vocabulary."
The funniest movie ever made by s-f fans, for s-f fans!
Michael R Gates | 11/04/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Be careful what you wish for! Mark and Robert, two long-time Star Trek fans, have suffered most of their lives for their love of their favorite television program. Back in school, their classmates beat them up for their devotion to the fictional Captain Kirk and the actor who played him. Now, approaching their dreaded thirtieth birthdays, the two wannabe filmmakers (and devoted collectors of action figures) still don't fit in. Neither can maintain a relationship with a girlfriend. Could it have something to do with the fact that nearly everything they say contains some reference to "Star Trek" or other science-fiction classics? Certainly not! Still, when Mark and Robert chance to meet actor William Shatner in a Los Angeles bookstore, they're in for a rude awakening. To their horror, they find their idol is a womanizing egomaniac whose dream is to play all the parts in a one-man musical production of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar." (All the parts, except that he wants Sharon Stone to play Calpurnia. Or if Sharon isn't available, then maybe Heather Locklear.)"Free Enterprise" is a modest, independently-produced romantic comedy, written by science-fiction film columnist Mark Altman and film editor Robert Meyer Burnett (who also directed), both of whom fiercely deny that the film is in any way autobiographical. Their love of Star Trek and science fiction film is evident in every scene of this quirky, sometimes bizarre tale, which seems to have been made without any cooperation (or interference) from Paramount Studios. William Shatner shows himself to be a heretofore unsuspected comic genius who takes delight in poking fun at his public image. And his rap music version of Marc Antony's "Et tu, Brute" speech had me laughing so hard that I'll have to watch the movie again just to see if I missed anything.Although "mainstream" viewers will certainly enjoy the film's comedic plot, hardcore science fiction fans will take special delight in "Free Enterprise"'s many subtle (and not-so-subtle) in-jokes. My personal favorite was Shatner's botched pick-up line, delivered to a beautiful woman, a classic Kirk speech from "Conscience of the King." (Oddly enough, it didn't work anywhere near as well for Shatner as it did for Kirk.) On the other hand, I didn't notice (until a friend pointed out to me) that all the drinks in a bar were green, which seems to be a clever reference to Scotty's immortal "it's green" line. Other gags include references to such fan favorites as "Logan's Run," "Star Wars," "Planet of the Apes," "Wonder Woman," and even "Buckaroo Banzai." Even the end titles are full of tiny jokes buried in the credits.The DVD version has a beautiful letterbox transfer and lots of great behind-the-scenes material in the supplement. Especially interesting is the commentary track, as well as an alternate caption track that footnotes the sources of many of the film's delightful in-jokes.Unlike a recent "documentary" that tries to portray Star Trek fans as freaks, "Free Enterprise" is surprisingly well-done, and made with obvious affection for Star Trek fans, as well as for Star Trek itself. It's the funniest movie ever made for science fiction fans, by science fiction fans."
Very Good Movie and Great DVD!
William T. Parnell | Sherman, NY USA | 08/22/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a romantic comedy centered on two Star Trek fans that now work in the film business. Robert (Rafer Weigel) is the less responsible of the two friends and spends most of his film editor's paycheck on action figures and laserdiscs. Mark (Eric McCormack) is constantly loaning Robert money and bailing him out of financial trouble. Audie England shines as Robert's love interest and seemingly perfect woman. The hook here is provided when the two "Trekkies" meet their idol William Shatner (playing himself). However, instead of being a god as they imagined, Shatner is a bumbling, incompetent fool who can't get a woman.Free Enterprise is presented in a clean and clear transfer with very good sound although as a dialogue driven film that is not a major issue. I found the extras on this disc to be extremely well done and a cut above the ordinary. First is the commentary of writer/director Robert Meyer Burnett and producer/writer Mark Altman who are the inspiration for the two lead characters in this autobiographical work. The two men talk almost non-stop about their experiences as first-time independent filmmakers in a witty and fascinating manner.Next are the deleted scenes that comprise over 30 minutes of screen time. One thing I enjoyed was that each scene is prefaced by an explanation of why the scene was deleted and the place where it would have appeared in the film. This is a great way to get inside the heads of the filmmakers and really enjoy and understand the process they went through. The deleted scenes are generally of higher quality than many I have seen and are well worth watching in their own right.Another innovative feature is a trivia subtitle track that explains the many references in the movie. This is a real boon for those who might be unfamiliar with sci-fi and "lets them in" on the jokes. For myself, I got about 80% of the references the first time around but it was still great to be able to pick up what I did miss and believe me there are some subtle things here. Also included and well done are a documentary, screen tests, glossary, and the original music video with Shatner as a rap artist (believe it or not).This is a very enjoyable film that will be sure to delight Sci-fi and Trek fans everywhere with its multitude of references to that subject matter. The actors are great, especially Shatner in his self-effacing role and Patrick Van Horn who plays a womanizing sidekick. The DVD is loaded with features and is no doubt the preferred version for Free Enterprise fans."
Great Shatner parody by... Shatner himself!
Craig MACKINNON | Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada | 09/06/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As other reviewers have pointed out, this is a dialogue-driven film, and it's very funny. The main characters are aged 30-something (in the year 1999) and grew up watching sci-fi and reading comic books. They effortlessly quote Star Wars, Star Trek, and many more obscure shows, but have some problems with the ladies (surprise surprise!). The plot, if there is one, centres on the character played by Weigel, who meets a girl with similar tastes (in the comic store!), and their courtship. Basically, though, it's mostly these men hanging out in L.A. bars, trying to score, and yacking about relationships and laser discs. At the same time, they have befriended William Shatner, but he's not quite the person they thought he'd be.....Shatner has always been at the forefront of Trek lampoonery - witness his "Get a Life" sketch on Saturday Night Live. In this film, he plays a parody of himself - he pompously informs the heroes he's planning a musical version of Julius Caesar wherein he'll play all the parts ("except Calpurnia"). When it's pointed out that he'll have to stab himself in the back, he replies "I've done it before!"Even though the film was called "Free Enterprise," and even though Shatner is in it, it is not a film for Trekkies only - Star Wars and Logan's Run references equal those from Trek. Certainly, people that grew up at the same time as the characters will appreciate the more subtle jokes, but it's really quite accessible generally and fun for anyone. Granted, there is a lot of incidental sex and alcohol consumption, which may turn off some viewers.The DVD contains lots of extras, especially some explanations of various inside jokes, a making-of featurette, and some neat deleted scenes."