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Free Guy

For those of you who are unaware, I have some breaking news to share. As it turns out, Ryan Reynolds is a movie star. While watching his latest venture, FREE GUY, it occurred to me that the ageless actor is the epitome of stardom. He is charming, hilarious, well spoken, and can elevate any material he is in. In the hands of virtually any other performer, FREE GUY might have been just another PIXELS. With Reynolds in the driver’s seat, however, it becomes an entertaining, silly slice of blockbuster goodness.

Guy (Reynolds) has a pretty good life. Crime runs rampant in his hometown of Free City, but nothing seems to bother him very much. He greets his goldfish each morning, gets the same coffee every day, and then meets up with his best friend, Buddy (Lil Rel Howery) as they stroll together towards work. Sure, the bank they are employed at gets robbed every day, but he’s never severely injured in the process. Occasionally he gets punched in the face while walking down the street, and there seems to be an absurd amount of car accidents, explosions, and gun battles raging all around him, but at the end of the day, he goes to sleep with a smile.

What Guy doesn’t realize, is that he is a side character in an interactive video game. It’s a simulation called Free City, and it boasts elements of Grand Theft Auto, The Sims, and Fortnite. In other words, if you have a kid watching this movie with you, chances are, they are going to understand far more references than you will. Conversely, there are some other types of references that they will likely not understand, or at least for your sake I hope they don’t, because things might get a tad awkward otherwise.

Once Guy realizes the circumstances surrounding his existence, he is obviously devastated, but then begins to embrace the possibilities. He quickly discovers the secret to unlocking access within the game, and by simply continuing to be a nice dude (he helps rather than harm), he establishes himself as a legend within Free City and the real world as well. Oblivious to his own celebrity, he only cares about landing in the arms of his beloved muse, Millie (Jodie Comer) a real-life programmer who has her own motivations for playing.

The premise of FREE GUY is fun, and Reynolds thrives. He is consistently laugh-out-loud funny and shines even when the rest of the film isn’t firing on all cylinders. He is not alone in this regard though. Throughout the duration of the film, it is delightfully apparent that no one within the production is taking themselves too seriously, and they gleefully embrace the chaotic anarchy of Free City. This allows the jovial nature of Reynolds and his adventure to remain engaging and entertaining.

FREE GUY is PG-13 and given the nature of the plotline, parents should probably know that this is one heck of a violent movie. Like Fortnite, in which ruthlessly mowing down others makes up the majority of the action, FREE GUY is a largely bloodless barrage of assault weapons and explosions. It is all played to comedic effect, but at the same time, with a running time of nearly two hours, the body count is massive. It is, for all intents and purposes, a way for your tweens and teens to get all of the DEADPOOL snark with none of the bloody impaling. With the aforementioned anti-hero set to join the MCU, and FREE GUY’s triumphant run at the box office, it looks like Reynolds is about to add “Disney Darling” to his long line of successes.

FREE GUY: B

RATED: PG-13
RUN TIME: 1h 55min
GENRE: Action, Adventure, Comedy
STARRING: Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Taika Waititi DIRECTOR: Shawn Levy
WRITERS: Matt Lieberman, Zak Penn

(FREE GUY is currently showing in theaters)

 

Brian Miller
Film Critic
Based out of Central New York, Brian Miller is a film critic who works in television, radio, and print. Providing passionate and energetic takes on every movie he sees, he looks for the best in a movie, not the worst.