Free Guy (2021)

free guy poster 2021 movie
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 7/10

Reynolds is a good fit

Borrows from tons of other similar movies, underwhelming Academy Award nominated visuals

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Free Guy

Studio:  20th Century Studios/Berlanti Productions/21 Laps Entertainment

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure/Comedy/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  August 10, 2021 (Locarno Film Festival)/August 13, 2021 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

free guy ryan reynolds goldfish

Goldie, it must stink living your life in a fish bowl

Guy (Ryan Reynolds) loves his life.  He works at a bank, has the best cup of coffee in the morning, and enjoys the company of his friend Buddy (Lil Rel Howery) and his goldfish Goldie.  Guy lives in Free City, but what Guy doesn’t know is that Free City lives in a server.  Guy is part of Free City, and Free City is the popular MMO with millions of players daily.  When Guy meets the woman of his dreams Molotov Girl (Jodie Comer), Guy’s world begins to change as Guy learns he can be more.  Molotov Girl aka Millie Rusk is also seeking answers in Free City.  She believes her former boss Antwan Hovachelik (Taika Waititi) stole Free City by using her codes for Life Itself developed by her and her coworker Walter “Keys” McKey (Joe Keery).  With Free City 2 about to launch, Millie is running out of time, and Guy could be the answer.

Directed by Shawn Levy, Free Guy is an action adventure comedy.  The film faced massive delays during the COVID-19 outbreak and eventually premiered at the 74th Locarno Film Festival on August 10, 221.  The film received mostly positive reviews and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.

free guy millie guns jodie comer ryan reynolds

Hey Molotov…being a user does this remind you Tron at all?

I like Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool, but I’m not a big Ryan Reynolds fan.  With Free Guy essentially being Ryan Reynolds being Ryan Reynolds, I was rather wary of it.  While it has its moments, Free Guy is kind of what you expect.

The film is a hodgepodge of other movies that came before it and combined with popular video games like Fortnite and Grand Theft Auto.  The story feels a bit like The Truman Show with Guy not knowing his reality, and it also borrows the plot from Tron with Millie entering the video game to find her stolen game…but from the perspective of Tron.  There is some creativity, but even this creatively doesn’t raise the level of the film past action-comedy (though most of the comedy does push the PG-13 limits)…it still feels rather mundane though fun at points.

Ryan Reynolds is a good fit for this movie because of his “shiny personality” humor.  Guy is supposed to be as generic as generic can be but then become someone that people can identify with…Reynolds is good at this (he also provides the “face” for Dude played by Aaron W. Reed).  Jodie Comer and Joe Keery have a weird character arc with a strange love triangle involving Reynolds, but like much of the movie, it pans out as you’d expect because Keery is a likeable costar.  Taika Waititi has some laughs but it feels like he could do even more with his sense of humor.  The movie also features multiple online gamers, cameos (some real some animated) by Tina Fey, Hugh Jackman, Dwayne Johnson, John Krasinski, Chris Evans, and the final film appearance by Alex Trebek.

free guy vs dude ryan reynolds captain america shield

…and late in the movie, we decide to get Meta…

Despite an Oscar nomination, the special effects don’t feel that special.  It was a slim year due to COVID, but there were many other more worthwhile contenders with Free Guy looking rather average.  Despite comparisons to Ready Player One, the film didn’t do much of a deep dive into pop-culture except near the end with some MCU and Star Wars crossover moments.

Free Guy isn’t a bad film, but it also isn’t a great film.  It feels like it thinks it is more creative than it is, and the movie does have some of the right ideas (anyone who plays video games knows how much fun it is to torture the non-playable characters).  The movie feels on the verge of being a fun outing but instead just feels like a slightly above average action-comedy.

Related Links:

The 94th Academy Award Nominations

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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