Free Guy Is A Rocking Good Time

Jodie Comer as Molotov Girl and Ryan Reynolds as Guy in 20th Century Studios’ FREE GUY. Photo by Alan Markfield. © 2020 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

The long-delayed Free Guy offers audiences a rocking good time as the Shawn Levy-directed film starring Ryan Reynolds hits the big screen.

I’m a fan of Shawn Levy and will see anything that he directs. Ryan Reynolds turns in another solid Ryan Reynolds performance that only Ryan Reynolds can do. Listen, there are other actors but Ryan Reynolds is guy. He’s got the charming humor required to pull off the performance. There aren’t many other actors who can pull off this kind of performance and that’s what I’ve grown to enjoy in watching Reynolds over the years.

What we know going into the film (from the trailer) is that Guy (Ryan Reynolds) works as a bank teller for the Free City Bank. Like any character, he has his own catchphrase: “Don’t have a good day–have a GREAT day!” Where has this phrase been for all my life?!? Anyway, life for Guy is pretty mundane–always positive and cheerful–but then Molotovgirl (Jodie Comer) shows up and it becomes love at first sight. Guy changes and soon learns that he is a non-playing character in the video game, Free City.

The fact that Guy starts doing his own thing causes trouble for Soonami Studios mogul Antwan (Taika Waititi). Antwan’s been readying a sequel, Free City: Carnage, with all-new characters and but the viral Blue Shirt Guy changes everything. Everyone starts assuming he’s a hacker at first. Even Millie (Jodie Comer) realizes this NPC has come to life. Former Life Itself co-creator and Soonami programmer Walter “Keys” McKeys (Joe Keery) doesn’t believe it and thinks Millie should drop it and move on. Millie has a beef with Antwan and she thinks Guy can help. Will Keys believe her? As far as video game characters go, Guy evolves quicker than they can believe. While Guy discovers his free will, best friend and security guard Buddy (Lil Rel Howery) is not about to go outside of the zone. He’s just not comfortable in doing so.

Nobody knows who Blue Shirt Guy is and once he starts leveling up his points, well, Antwan starts taking things into his own hands. Put it this way: you don’t want to be on his bad side. And with Guy ruining the sequel sales, Antwan will do whatever it takes. Initially, he sends in both Keys and Mouser (Utkarsh Ambudkar). Eventually, it comes to Antwan taking matters into his own hands. Regardless, it’s fascinating to watch Taika in action as a bad guy. I like Taika as an actor and filmmaker so on a level, it hurts me to root against him as the film’s villain. What a cinematic villain he is!

There’s some fun cameos here beyond the late Alex Trebek. In short, let’s just say that filmmakers take advantage of the Disney acquisition. I won’t say anything else but when it comes to one of the cameos: I was clapping at the same time I was falling out of my seat from pure joy. Free Guy does in one particular sequence what Ready Player One simply failed to do for an entire film. Funny enough, co-writer Zak Pen worked on the Spielberg film. It’s just so fun to watch. I just don’t think this sequence could never happen without Disney buying the studio. There’s no other way to say it. Anyway, if you’re anything like me, you’ll enjoy it.

Behind the camera, cinematographer George Richmond certainly has his work cut out. He has two things going: lighting for the real world and then in Free City itself. You can see the difference in what color palette is being used in either world. Outside of what we see on TV and computer screens, what I love about Free Guy is that we see Free City in live-action rather than the CGI we saw in Ready Player One. That and the action set pieces can defy the rules because there are really no rules in the world of gaming. Anything that can happen will happen! The set design can be basic like Guy’s apartment or go all out. It really changes from scene to scene.

You can’t help but think of Wreck-It Ralph while watching the film. Both films deal with characters that decide to no longer play the game. They wake up so to speak and discover free will. Do they still want to do the same routine daily or change it up?

Understandably, Free Guy is only playing in theaters. Sometime in the near future, it will be available to watch on home video. It plays beautifully on the big screen and so I would definitely recommend the theatrical experience. Obviously, there’s a pandemic and so I understand if you’re hesitant. I mean, if not for a press-exclusive screening, I would be hesitant to see it on the big screen. We all have our own comfort levels right now and you must make the best decision possible. Regardless of what you do decide, please know that there isn’t an end-credit scene but thousands of people worked on the film so you should watch them anyway.

One doesn’t need to be into video games to enjoy Free Guy because Ryan Reynolds’ charming humor will quickly win you over.

DIRECTOR: Shawn Levy
SCREENWRITERS: Matt Lieberman and Zak Penn
CAST: Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Joe Keery, Lil Rel Howery, Utkarsh Ambudkar, and Taika Waititi

20th Century Studios will release Free Guy in theaters on August 13, 2021.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.