Sometimes I have no idea why I haven’t seen a film, it’s the kind of thing which makes no sense in the slightest given how perfect a match it seems on paper, and Free Enterprise is such a flick, I’m a huge fan of sci-fi, love comedy, and low budget indie films are pretty much my favourite type of movie. And yet I’d never seen Free Enterprise until last night when I finally got round to rectifying this bizarre scenario. And was it worth the wait? No, dear god it was not and I wish I’d never bothered as it’s a quite hateful movie.
To summarise the plot in short – two sci-fi obsessed men moan about or fuck women. I wish there was more to it than that (and okay, there is very slightly) but that makes up about 90% of the film, and the other 10% centres around William Shatner and his desire to make a six hour musical version of Julius Caesar where he’ll play all the roles, or at least all of the male parts. This is actually a reasonably funny idea and if the whole film was based around our leads Mark (Will and Grace’s Will McCormack) and Robert (Rafer Weigel) trying to help him despite it being a terrible plan it could have been a fun movie, but nope, the emphasis is on it being a sex obsessed rom-com and this is without doubt to it’s detriment.
The problem with the film, and boy is it a big problem, is their take on women. Throughout the whole film females are only sex objects and they’re spoken about in horribly tacky and sexist ways, and rarely considered to be human beings in the slightest. Bar one female character all the women don’t like sci-fi and are confused by computers, and at one point Mark goes on a date and after listening to her talk for a while he says “You are an insufferable spoilt brat who can only talk about herself”, insults her even more and then says “Now if you don’t mind can we go back to your apartment and have sex, I’m very tired and have a lot of work to do.” If this was made or set in the 1950’s you might be able to shake your head and claim that’s how men acted back then, but for a movie filmed in the nineties there’s just no excuse at all.
There are a depressing amount of examples of such behaviour too, the boys meet William Shatner while he’s in a book shop perving over a porn magazine and instead of mocking such behaviour they treat him like he was a god, and in one scene Robert’s in a comic shop and when a woman called Clare (Audie England) looks at his Sandman graphic novel he presumes she must want it for her boyfriend, and is then shocked that she’s a comic book fan herself. Indeed when he discovers that she’s as much as a geek as he is he desperately tries to seduce her, and they do end up together despite the fact that he was so obnoxious when they initially met.
If you’re not convinced that this is a really puerile film just yet, well, there’s a horrible attempt at humour when Mark and Robert are talking about Rosemary’s Baby and Mark comments “The bitch had it coming after what she did to Woody Allen”, Robert and Clare break up during a fight where she states “You and I should come before laserdiscs and Enterprise Christmas ornaments” and he just moans “Whatever” like the most petulant and annoying teenager you could ever imagine. Also, Mark and another friend talk about trying to split up Clare and Robert just because the latter doesn’t spend much time with them anymore, and there’s a tiresome scene where a car crash takes place because Robert was performing oral sex on his date.
Towards the end Mark is called out on his emotional immaturity but this is such a brief moment it’s not enough to make up for everything that’s come before, and Robert is let off scot-free with Clare announcing that she doesn’t care about his general all round twattiness (and this is a man who couldn’t not only pay his rent but also the electricity and phone bill and owes his best friend thousands of dollars) and is desperate to get back with him, going against everything she originally said when she broke up with him which doesn’t make any sense in the slightest. Not that I was surprised by this point as the film is clearly in love with it’s leads and forgives all of their miserable behaviour throughout.
It’s essentially a geek version of Swingers except they’re supposedly nerd-ish types, but like many Hollywood portrayals of such individuals they’re all gorgeous and handsome and able to pretty much seduce each and every woman they meet, in fact the only difference between this and Vince Vaughan and Jon Favreau’s movie is that there’s lots of references to sci-fi films and shows, but the characters are so unappealing you won’t find them funny at all. It’s irritating as the majority of William Shatner’s scenes are fairly amusing, but they’re such a minor part of the movie that they don’t come even close to making it watchable.
A movie filled with surprisingly unlikeable characters, Will McCormack can’t even make his whiny lead bearable, and it came as no surprise to learn that Rafer Weigel quit acting a few years later to become a sports anchor on a news channel as he’s awful here. There is the odd funny scene but the majority of it is sexist garbage, and gives sci-fi fans a bad name, like Cuntfuckshitter or Margaret Thatcher, and it’s so bad that while there aren’t many films I wish I could wipe from my memory this is definitely one of them.