DirectorRobert Meyer Burnett Music directorScott Spock CountryUnited States
Release dateJune 4, 1999 (1999-06-04) WriterMark A. Altman, Robert Meyer Burnett ScreenplayRobert Meyer Burnett, Mark A. Altman CastEric McCormack (Mark), Carl Bressler (Mort Berg), Carl Bressler (Young Mark), Phyllis Franklin (Ticket Taker), William Shatner (Bill) Similar moviesInside Out, Jupiter Ascending, Knock Knock, Pitch Perfect 2, Frozen, The Matrix
William shatner 1998 free enterprise
Free Enterprise is a 1999 romantic comedy film starring Eric McCormack and Rafer Weigel, and featuring William Shatner, directed by Robert Meyer Burnett and written by Mark A. Altman and Burnett.
The film deals with the mid-life crises of its two main protagonists, Mark (Eric McCormack) and Robert (Rafer Weigel), fictionalized versions of the film's director and producer/writer. The two friends struggle with adult career and relationship problems, all the while defiantly clinging to the geeky science fiction pop culture of their youth and seeking advice from their greatest hero, William Shatner.
Shatner plays a campy caricature of himself as he works on a one-man musical version of Julius Caesar in hopes of finally being taken seriously as a dramatist and musical performer. Hip-hop artist "The Rated R", joined by Shatner, provides the concluding musical number "No Tears for Caesar", a pastiche of famous lines from the play set to a rap rhythm. The film's score was produced by Scott Spock.
Eric McCormack as Mark
Rafer Weigel as (Spencer Klein, young) Robert
Audie England as Claire
William Shatner as Bill
Phil LaMarr as Eric
Thomas Hobson as Richard
Jennifer Sommerfield as Tricia
Jonathan Slavin as Dan
Patrick Van Horn as Sean
Lori Lively as Leila
Holly Gagnier as Laura Hafermann
Ellie Cornell as Suzanne Crawford
Marilyn Kentz as Gail, Mark's mom
Diana Cignoni as Illa
Sharon Leibowitz as Sharon
Daniel Schweiger as Schweiger
Mickey Cassidy as Bully
Kay Reindl, a friend of Mark A. Altman and Robert Meyer Burnett, and a television writer on Millennium and The Twilight Zone, felt that they could make a film out of their clique's obsession with Star Trek. Burnett remembered that one day Altman called him and read a scene where he was beaten up in junior high school for wearing a Trek uniform. William Shatner appeared to him as a vision and told him to fight back. Altman wrote the first draft and then Burnett rewrote it.
When Altman and Burnett approached Shatner about being in Free Enterprise he was not interested: "I had played my [Kirk] persona as far as I wanted to go and probably as far as anybody wants me to go." Undaunted, Altman and Burnett tweaked his character to be more like Peter O'Toole's in My Favorite Year. They also incorporated several anecdotes from Shatner's actual life.
Free Enterprise had a tiny theatrical release in only nine Los Angeles theaters in 1998 with little promotion. Burnett said, "Nobody went to see it. It was really disheartening". In his review for the Los Angeles Times, Kevin Thomas said that the film brought "new life into the Hollywood-set romantic comedy genre" and was "funny, sharp and engaging". The L.A. Weekly said it was a "very funny, likable comedy about geeks in love". In her review for the Washington Post, Jen Chaney praised Shatner's performance: "The often funny and, strangely enough, sometimes touching performance by Shatner."
Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a critic score of 83% and an audience score of 79%.
The film won four awards including the 2000 Saturn Award for Best Home Video Release. A new 2-disc DVD special edition Free Enterprise: Extended "Five Year Mission" Edition was released on March 7, 2006.
A sequel called "Free Enterprise: The Wrath of Shatner" is in pre-production. Interviewed at Comic-Con 2011, director Robert Meyer Burnett admitted that earlier in the year, funding for the sequel was pulled two days before filming, but says that the project is not dead.