Laugh Date: Thursday, February 22, 2018

What's Inside

RAH Humor Review:
Free Enterprise

by Dave Bealer

Copyright © 2002 Dave Bealer, All Rights Reserved.

What do you get when you mix an aging action superstar, two wannabee independent film makers on the verge of turning thirty, and a script for a rap-musical version of Julius Caesar? In the case of Free Enterprise, you get a screwball, romantic comedy that could easily be entitled "Triumph of the Nerds".

Rob and Mark are 29-year-old Los Angelenos who lace all their conversations with quotes from movies and television, particularly Star Trek and Star Wars. Their illusions are shattered when they meet their personal hero, William Shatner, who turns out to be a pathetic nutcase.

Yes, this is the science fiction fan film you've heard about that actually stars William Shatner as himself. But don't panic - it's really a lot better than it sounds. This William Shatner isn't the studly captain of Star Trek fame. He gets drunk in public and makes a fool of himself, but in a hilarious fashion.

This movie features excellent writing by Mark Altman and Robert Burnett, the real-life counterparts to the film's protagonasts, and very competent acting from all concerned. It helps if you know enough pop culture to get all the references that pepper the dialogue. But if you have a DVD player, you can even get help there. The DVD edition includes optional "trivia subtitles", which explain the movie and television references as they occur.

And for connoisseurs of DVD director commentary soundtracks, Free Enterprise offers a goldmine of trivia. I thought I caught most of the references throughout the film. But while watching the film again with the commentary by the real-life Rob and Mark turned on, I found that I'd missed at least half of the references, some of them incredibly obscure.

"Am I cool?" is a question asked by Shatner of the fictional Rob and Mark near the end of the film. The answer, at least in the opinion of this reviewer, is a resounding "yes!" Not only that, Free Enterprise shows that some of his fans can be cool.


Dave Bealer is a fifty-something mainframe systems programmer who works with CICS, z/OS and all manner of nasty acronyms at one of the largest heavy metal shops on the East Coast. He shares a waterfront townhome in Pasadena, MD. with two cats who annoy him endlessly as he assiduously avoids writing for and publishing Random Access Humor. Dave can be reached via e-mail at:


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