Mark & Robert are frustrated artists, filmmakers, and geeks; no one understands them except a core group of people, especially when it comes to their love of Star Trek and Captain Kirk. One day Mark and Robert are in local book store and run into their idol – William Shatner. Willing to let the men buy him a drink so he can share his idea for a project, the three strike up a friendship and begin to help each other achieve their filmmaking ambitions. Meanwhile, Mark begins to freak out about his upcoming 30th birthday and Robert looses his editing job and meets the girl of his dreams leaving his friends in the cold.
The first time I saw Free Enterprise no one else had seen it, or at least that’s the way it felt. However, being a self-described sci-fi geek I absolutely loved it. While Free Enterprise may be a tongue-in-cheek look at a Trekkie’s obsession it deals with just about every major science fiction product up to that date. And honestly, being a hard core geek myself it’s a pretty true look at a lot of people I know, and up until geeks recently made their way into pop culture it was a very good look at how people looked at me during my childhood & teen years.
Perhaps the best thing about Free Enterprise is William Shatner. He may be playing a exaggerated version of himself but as Bill he is a dang humorous addition to the movie. The great part about Shatner being written is as a character in the film is that he’s not just there to be the celebrity cameo, on a technical story level he is actually the vehicle that allows the Robert and Mark to begin a new level of maturity; Kirk/Shatner was each man’s childhood idol and seeing the flawed, real-life version before them makes them stop and think about themselves and their own desires in life and teaches them how they can still hold onto the core pieces of themselves despite the disillusionment that occurs.
Since its release in 1998 Free Enterprise has risen to the status of cult classic. If you are a fan of Trek or even just science fiction I highly recommend that you see this film at least once.
Director: Robert Meyer Burnett
Writers: Mark A. Altman & Robert Meyer Burnett
Mark: Eric McCormack
Robert: Rafer Weigel
Bill: William Shatner
Claire: Audie England
Young Mark: So you're saying I should engage my advanced-for-a-twelve-year-old intellect and use logic?
Imaginary William Shatner: Logic is the other guy's schtick, but yes.