Galaxy Quest

on December 25, 1999 by Christine James
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"Never give up-never surrender" is the optimistic if banal slogan of Commander Peter Quincy Taggart, a heroic, campy Captain Kirk-like character from an early-'80s sci-fi/adventure show called "Galaxy Quest." Moviegoers on the brink of abandoning hope for an upbeat, light-hearted comedy that delivers laughs without relying on masturbatory hijinks should heed that motto: Your "Quest" ends here.
   The now-unemployed actors who starred in the "Star Trek"-esque series are reduced to convention appearances and store openings--until a cadre of benevolent aliens (headed by Enrico Colantoni of TV's "Just Shoot Me") beams them onto their spaceship in the misguided hope that the "Quest" crew can defeat a genocidal space nemesis. The antagonistic ex-castmates must overcome their differences to save the universe--and their self-respect.
   The most hilarious moments come as the flummoxed actors try to fake their way through their responsibilities by unconvincingly regurgitating dialogue from long-ago episodes of their show, knowing their actual limitations only too well. As ditzy Gwen DeMarco (Sigourney Weaver) tells the self-aggrandizing Jason Nesmith (Tim Allen), "Unless you took a Learning Annex course I don't know about, I'm pretty sure you don't know how to shut down a neutron reactor." Meanwhile, former Shakespearean thespian Alexander Dane (Alan Rickman) suffers the indignity of having his Spockish character's catchphrase constantly repeated back to him, and the hapless Fred Kwan (Tony Shalhoub) must stammeringly pretend to know how to rectify engine breaches and egregious transporter boo-boos. Inevitably, the interstellar crisis brings out the best in all of them--even Crewman #6 (Sam Rockwell), whose lack of a full character name has him in a panic over the impending death he's convinced awaits him.
   This tightly scripted, lightning-paced laffer delightfully pulls all the elements together and builds to a giddy and gleeful climax that's a sci-fi nerd's--and comedy fan's--dream come true. Starring Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub, Sam Rockwell and Enrico Colantoni. Directed by Dean Parisot. Written by David Howard and Robert Gordon. Produced by Mark Johnson and Charles Newirth. A DreamWorks release. Comedy. Rated PG for some action violence, mild language and sensuality. Running time: 102 min
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