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Free Enterprise (1998)

R  |   |  Comedy, Romance  |  4 June 1999 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 2,871 users  
Reviews: 101 user | 34 critic

Two less than successful film producers, approaching mid-life crisis and clinging to their nerdy sci-fi obsessions, suddenly meet their idol: William Shatner.

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mort Berg
Ethan Glazer ...
Young Mark
Phyllis Franklin ...
Ticket Taker
Young Kevin
Marilyn Kentz ...
Gail - Mark's Mom
Spencer Klein ...
Young Robert
Rafer Weigel ...
Tricia (as Jennifer Sommerfield)
Tricia Cruz ...
Mexican Waitress (as Letricia Cruz)
Annika Brindley ...
Michael Altman ...
Eden Waiter


Young filmmakers (Rafer Weigel, Eric McCormack) trying to hawk a movie titled "Bradykillers" about a serial killer who goes after victims Marcia, Jan, and Cindy meet their screen idol, William Shatner. Shatner, appearing as himself, has fun poking fun at his own image. The two young men, who idolize him and in their fantasies have seen him as a shadowy fairy godfather figure, are alarmed at the reality of the middle-aged non-Captain Kirk man that they meet. However, their relationship helps anchor the two more into reality. Written by John Sacksteder <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Love long and party See more »


Comedy | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

4 June 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Свободна инициатива  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$13,086 (USA) (4 June 1999)


$30,193 (USA) (25 June 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (extended)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


William Shatner wears the bomber jacket and flight cap he wore as the U.S. Air Force colonel from 12 O'Clock High (1964) after overhearing Mark and Robert's discussion about him. See more »


When Bill is pitching the idea for his movie, the 2nd time he takes a drink (right after the waitress brings new ones) you hear ice rattle as he brings the glass up and then back down, but there's no ice in the drink he has. See more »


Mark: You're losing it. A year ago you'd already be re-enacting the kitchen scene from "9 1/2 Weeks". 'Course, my own sex life's more like 8 1/2 Weeks - Fellini meets Psycho. Scary.
See more »

Crazy Credits

World War II Hero Pug Henry See more »


References The New Gods (1997) See more »


Written and Performed by Jussi Tegelman
Additional Vocals by Kim Nail
See more »

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User Reviews

Shatner is brilliant, but the rest is just a tedious Nrrdboy fantasy
15 February 2002 | by (Bothell, Washington, Land of Rain) – See all my reviews

Robert Meyer Burnett's `Free Enterprise' is several movies all at once-unfortunately only one of them is interesting.

Film #1: The original and witty masterpiece. Two aspiring yet unsuccessful filmmakers run into William Shatner in a Hollywood bookstore. The two pop culture-obsesses slackers have both been Star Trek fanatics since birth and are appropriately awestruck by the realization of their dreams. They soon find out, however, that the real William Shatner is a pathetic, wacked-out loser who befriends the pair only because he thinks they can help him get backing for his latest film project, a 5-hour musical version of William Shakespeare's `Julius Caesar' in which he will play every role. And, in a very clever plot twist, it is not Captain Kirk who helps the two Trekkie nerds get their lives together, but the other way around. Everyone eventually finds love and fulfillment, and it all ends with William Shatner performing a kickass rap version of Marc Anthony's soliloquy.

Film #2: The painful movie. A tedious rip-off of `Swingers' in which two single guys and their friends experience the joys and anguish of dating, mating, growing up, and trying to hang onto their youth, yadda, yadda. ZZZZZZzzzzz. The twist is that in this version the hip CocktailVegasMoneyBabyHoneyDaddy culture has been replaced with the PopCultureComicBookMovieNerdStarWarsStarTrek fanboy culture. In fact, if not for this trading of Sinatra for Captain Kirk, the film would border on plagiarism.

Film #3: The Fantasy. In which guys who hang out in comic book stores also date myriad gorgeous Hollywood actress-models.

Unfortunately for those sucked in by the copy on the video and DVD packaging, the `Film #1' part of `Free Enterprise' only takes up about 10 or 12 total minutes of screen time.

Apparently, the people who marketed this film on video and dvd were the only ones involved in this project smart enough to know that the Shatner subplot, `film #1,' was the move that `Free Enterprise' really should be.

Obviously the majority of the film's storylines and amusing incidentals should have been relegated to subplots in support of `film #1'-ie, the relationship between the Nrrrds and William Shatner. An hour of Shatner, and maybe twenty minutes with the boys and their love problems, and we would have had a potentially fantastic movie.

And I don't want to sound like everything non-Shatner in the film is bad-it's not. It is amusing in spurts, and much better acted than most ultra-low budget flicks. Some of the dialogue is witty, with lots of funny pop culture references for thirty-sumpthin's. There is much goodness for those with a quick remote control finger. But I also have to say that a lot of the dialogue-and I mean a LOT-is dull, repetitious, and amateurishly unnecessary (I mean, really-after the scene in which the boys meet the real William Shatner only to find out he's a pathetic wacko, do we really need to hear this kind of dialogue in the following scene: `Hey, I get fired from my job, my girlfriend bails on me, I finally meet my childhood hero Captain Kirk, and he turns out to be a pathetic wacko! I can't believe my life!' This kind of sub-sitcom yak should have been left for the trailer.). Then again, the sight and sound of the William Shatner rapping Shakespeare while a crew of homies gits jiggy wit it behind him honestly is the height of brilliance. A lot can be forgiven for the filmmakers who made that happen.

So, someone in the biz needs to make Robert Meyer Burnett rich by purchasing the remake rights to `Free Enterprise' before William Shatner dies of old age. Maybe someone will even give Burnett the money to do it himself. But this time they need to go with `film # 1.'

16 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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