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20th Century Studios

Guy (Ryan Reynolds) and Buddy (Lil Rel Howery) have great chemistry and work well off each other, creating a great emotional core for Free Guy.

Free Guy is better than it has a right to be

  May 26, 2022

Free Guy is a bit of a surprise, as I thought I was going to hate it, but it turned out to be quite an enjoyable film.

The film is about Guy (Ryan Reynolds), an NPC (non player character) in a Grand Theft Auto-style video game called Free City. After randomly falling in love with a player in the game named Millie (Jodie Comer), Guy deviates away from his normally standard life, and starts to gain sentience and consequently realize that something is strange about his world. 

Guy ends up getting roped into a lawsuit that’s going on in the real world between Millie and big- time game developer Antwan (Taika Waititi), in which Millie claims that Antwan took Millie’s work that she used to make another game and used it to build his game without crediting Millie.

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This movie is not at all original; it shares a lot of similarities with a lot of different films. Just off the top of my head this film brings to mind They Live, The Matrix, The Truman Show, Ready Player One, and Wreck-It Ralph.

With that being said, while it lacks originality, it’s still a well put together film with plenty of funny moments, and clever ideas. 

Ryan Renolds is less of his snarky self in this film, and is more of a wide-eyed innocent, and it’s a bit refreshing seeing him not play Deadpool for the 800th time. 

His friendship with Lil Rel Howery’s “Buddy” is very charming, and likable. You just want to see these characters have a happy ending due to how well they work off each other.

There’s also a lot of video game concepts that are either used in creative ways or as funny concepts. Like how sometimes there are glitches in the game either right in the foreground or background and none of the NPC’s bat an eye. 

Or how Antwan admits about how he lied to consumers about certain concepts about Free City’s sequel and how the game clearly isn’t ready to launch. Antwan doesn’t care; he wants to stick to schedule. This is something that’s more and more prevalent in most modern games, where publishers have a “ship it now, fix it later” mentality. 

Surprisingly, what I thought would be a low point in the film, the parts that take place in the real world, aren’t bad. It can be just as funny and heartwarming as the parts that take place in a game world.

Something else worth mentioning is that the reason for why Guy suddenly gains sentience is actually pretty clever and makes sense in context.

There are also parts of the movie that are kind of unsettling, where it really shows how bad it would be to live in a world like this as an NPC. 

While the film is an overall good smooth product, it still has some bugs.

Taika Waititi was allowed to go buck wild in his performance, and it shows. He constantly ad libs lines. Sometimes it works, but most of the time it’s more obnoxious. He needed to be reined in.

There are several points of the film where real life YouTubers make cameos in the film as themselves. In fairness, the first time it happened, it was kinda charming and got a chuckle out of me. But when they kept showing up, the film kept getting diminishing returns to the point of them just being annoying. 

No offense to the YouTubers, but it’s clear they’re not actors, causing them to sometimes give wooden performances. Especially when they put their reactions next to the actors, it becomes night and day in the acting quality department. 

The final problem with the film is that there are points of blatant product placement that are put in there for the sake of product placement. But in fairness, one of the product placements was well done and got a laugh out of me.

Free Guy is a film that, while as original as a pair of fake Nikes, is done well enough to make a film with good laughs and some actual emotional moments.

Patrick will soon star in the next Highline production Free Grade, where a college student realizes he’s actually living in a math problem.