Free Guy (2021) – Shawn Levy

Inane, silly, and filled with laughs that gamers will delight in Ryan Reynolds new film, Free Guy, hits theatres this week.

With a story that feels a little bit like a riff on the classic 1982 sci-fi film, Tron, a programmer, Millie (Jodie Comer) is working her way through the program and game known as Free City, a massive open world online game, as she is convinced that the game she and her friend Keys (Joe Keery) created is in there.

They had originally sold the game to Antwan (Taika Waititi) who then shelved it, but is in fact using it’s core code, and engine to run his own, super-violent game. In this game, populated by NPCs (Non Player Characters) people commit acts of violence, trick out their characters, vehicles, and make names for themselves on streaming platforms like Twitch.

But Millie and Keys’ code is in there, as evidenced by Guy (Ryan Reynolds) a NPC that is beginning to change, evolve, and realise he’s in a videogame. Soon Blue Shirt Guy is taking the internet world by storm, as he seems determined to be not only a good guy, but a great guy. And he may be the key to not only saving the other NPCs in the game from the random acts of violence which permeate their world, but also the key to bringing down Antwan, and restoring Millie and Keys’ intial game program.

Filled with things gamers will recognize, Noobs learning the system, glitches, frame rates, there’s lots of nods to things people do and think are acceptable in gaming environments that they would never attempt in real life.There’s also, in the climax, a few laugh out loud pop culture moments that makes you realise what Disney gained with purchasing 20th Century Fox.

I love the cast in this film, it’s a great combination, though I wish Waitti and Reynolds had shared a scene together on screen (their Deadpool and Korg trailer reaction clip was priceless, satirical and pointed – loved it!). That feels like a missed opportunity, but it was great to see Keery, who will forever be linked to Stranger Things, strecthing his comedic chops, and Comer is fantastic as Millie and her online alter-ego, MolotovGirl.

Free Guy works because of Reynolds, he’s charming, he’s damned funny, and he’s so earnest in his delivery that you immediately like and empathise with his character, while wishing you could get away with some of the things he says.

The film also has an enjoyable soundtrack with some fun needles, the VFX are top-notch, and the two hour film doesn’t lack for pacing and laughs, but no matter how fun it is, it ends up feeling like another disposable piece of popcorn entertainment. But sometimes that’s all you need to help you get through your day. A good laugh, Ryan Reyolds, and some video games.

Free Guy opens tomorrow in theatres!

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