-By Thom Bennett

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If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then what of parody? Is it the most insincere form of flattery-or even more sincere? For something to warrant parody, it must have made at least some sort of impact on the public, and it goes without saying that 'Star Trek,' in all its varying incarnations, fits that bill. From television marathons to blockbuster movies and legions of Trekkies, 'Star Trek,' for better or worse, is certainly among the most significant pop-culture phenomena to come along in the 20th century.

Galaxy Quest pokes fun at (as well as pays homage to) the whole Trekkie culture. Director Dean Parisot's comedy deals with the cast of the fictional, 'Trek'-like show 'Galaxy Quest' and the obsession of its fans, quite literally, from all around the galaxy. When a group of 'fans' from a far-off universe call upon the cast members to take action and really save the cosmos, they must tap into all that they learned (and didn't learn) throughout their various televised intergalactic travails.

The funniest moments stem from the cast members' growing distaste for the characters and catchphrases that they are forced to regurgitate, year after year, long after the show itself has gone by the wayside. Much like the cast of 'Star Trek,' no matter what they did before or do after, they will always be these characters to the fans. The film also draws humor from situations that work on television but are rather troublesome when they arise in real life.

When the movie works, it works well. However, Galaxy Quest treads dangerously close to becoming a parody of itself. After a point, it crosses over from a hilarious, satirical look at the tedium of being trapped in a role and the obsession of fans to being just another sci-fi flick. Yet there are enough funny moments and engaging performances, especially from stars Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver, to maintain the delicate balance between the two worlds.

--Thom Bennett

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