The Reel Review
Guy is an ordinary, nice, bank teller living a pleasant but highly repetitive life. When he discovers that he is actually an NPC – a non-player character – inside a violent, online video game, this “Blue Shirt Guy” AI decides to flip the script, become a player, and rewrite his own story, in this fantasy/comedy starring Ryan Reynolds.
With a treasure trove of nods to popular video games and other movies, the screenplay from Matt Lieberman (Playing with Fire) and Zak Penn (Ready Player One) is refreshingly clever, funny and – dare we say it? – sweet. Reynolds again showcases his now-trademark, snarky humor and slapstick comedy. But Free Guy also has a fantastic heroine in Jodie Comer (Killing Eve) as the video game developer who enters Guy’s video game world to locate evidence that the game is actually based on her stolen source code. Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit) overplays his part as the egomaniacal (and overly cartoonish) video game company owner, with a more heartfelt Lil Rel Howard and Joe Keery (Stranger Things) as best friends of the lead characters.
Although it loses steam quite a bit in the third act, director Shawn Levy (Date Night) keeps Free Guy a light, breezy story with a nice message about taking chances to make the most out of life, versus settling for being a boring background character. Video game aficionados will love all of Free Guy‘s hidden Easter eggs, with casual viewers finding the film an entertaining way to kill a couple of hours.
• Ryan Reynolds personally spoke with Mariah Carey to get the rights to her hit song “Fantasy” in the film.
• Free Guy is heavily inspired by Daniel Francis Galouye’s 1964 sci-fi novel Simulacron-3, where the main character discovers he lives in a simulated world inside a computer. He helps save his world with the help of a female admin.
• Dwayne Johnson and Tina Fey have cameo voice roles in Free Guy as a bank robber and the mother of Channing Tatum’s character.