Free Guy is a 2021 American science fiction action comedy film directed by Shawn Levy and stars Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Joe Keery, Lil Rel Howery, Utkarsh Ambudkar and Taika Waititi. The film follows the story a bank teller named Guy who finds out that he is actually a non-player character in an open-world video game and becomes the hero of the story, trying to save his friends from being deleted by the game’s creator.
Free City is an online, open-world video game developed by Soonami Games. Its source code was stolen from an unreleased game called Life Itself, developed by Walter “Keys” McKey (Joe Keery) and Millie Rusk (Jodie Comer), and used by Soonami’s head developer Antwan (Taika Waititi) to create Free City. Keys has taken a job at Soonami, while Millie spends time in the game as her avatar Molotov Girl to find evidence of code that she and Keys had written and to prove that they are the rightful owners of the code.
In the game, Guy, a non-player character (NPC), works as a bank teller and spends time with his best friend and co-worker, bank security guard Buddy (Lil Rel Howery), unaware that his world is a video game. One day, he sees Molotov Girl, who is singing the song that he says his dream girl will like and starts to depart from his programming. He finds a pair of sunglasses from player who tries to rob his bank, through which he sees Free City from the player’s head-up display (HUD). Guy speaks to Millie, who thinks he is another player named “Blue Shirt Guy” and not an NPC. She tells him to level to above 100 before she will speak to him again. Keys and his coworker Mouser believe Guy to be a hacker disguised as an NPC and unsuccessfully try to ban him from the game. Rather than leveling up through catastrophic acts, Guy opts to perform good deeds, completing missions within Free City to reach level 102. Through his good deeds, which stand out from the other players, result in “Blue Shirt Guy” becoming a worldwide sensation.
This is a wildly entertaining film and laugh out loud funny at times. Ryan Reynolds is not always the best actor, but as his character, bringing with it humor, action and romance, he was great. Jodie Comer was equally great as both Millie Rusk and Molotov Girl and Joe Keery did a fine job as Keys McKey. Taikia Waititi’s character was a money hungry head of a ginormous video game company who was extremely irritating, mean and selfish, so it was hard to see much outside of that as far as acting goes, because he was so hard to like, the character. Lil Rel Howery was just mediocre at best as Buddy, because he was super cheesy and annoying, like to the point of wanting to jump in the movie and tell him to shut up or stop it.
Other minor characters were super cheesy and immature as well. Channing Tatum’s character, for example, Benjamin Buttons, Keith’s game character said everything Keith said on his headset, making him look like a super goofball, just like Keith, who is an adult living with his mom and playing video games all the time. There is tons of extreme violence that could’ve been toned down and quite a bit of foul language. The effects are outstanding and there is some great old songs in the film as well. A few characters wear the same thing the whole (or most of) the movie, which gets old, but they are from the video game world.
A fun, humorous and action-packed film that is wildly entertaining and funny. It is a bit long at nearly two hours. This may be an action comedy, but it isn’t quite as adult and well done as Reynolds’s Deadpool films. This is like a Ryan Reynolds version of Ready Player One. But it is an enjoyable movie for the most part, despite being lengthy and some of the humor being so silly. The story can be hard for some to follow, being world within a world theme. But what do expect when you try to take a story that’s been done before and add humor and romance? Something that lacks in greatness, that not even special effects can save despite its entertainment factor. 13+ 3/5
2 thoughts on “Free Guy (2021)”
Agreed: Two hours or near it is much too long for a comedy. Adding “action” doesn’t mean it should be longer. I’ll tell you what, though: Shawn Levy has come a long way since starring alongside Thor in Zombie Nightmare. Pretty awesome. I’ve gotten a fair shake on all of his directing work. And Ryan? You can’t not like him.
Really enjoyed it. Refreshing is the word despite the Groundhog Day riff.