Scott McDaniel: ‘Free Guy’ is an unoriginal super fun time

“Free Guy” is your standard Ryan Reynolds movie. It’s silly and fun. And while you know the good guys will win, its video game setting allows for some visually creative scenes that make it an enjoyable experience.

Reynolds plays Guy, a bank teller who wishes for more in life, but is literally stuck in a loop. His routine is diverted when he sees the girl of his dreams, sending him on a journey to win her grace.

The thing is, Guy is not real. He’s in a video game. And not just that, he’s a NPC, a Non-Player Character, or background character. And his dream girl, whose username is Molotov Girl (Jodie Comer), is a real person who has logged in to play his game, called Free City.

The virtual world is basically “Grand Theft Auto,” with people logging in to rob banks, steal cars, and kill whoever they want. Guy’s programming changes when Molotov Girl arrives, and he tries to help her on her mission.

Controlling Molotov Girl is Millie, a programmer who is searching within the game for proof that her game code was stolen and used to make Free City.

Taika Waititi plays Antoine, the jerk mogul behind Soonami, the studio that makes Free City. Waititi is a hilarious villain, larger than life and doing whatever it takes to protect his moneymaker. Unbeknownst to him, Millie’s former co-creator Keys (Joe Keery) is helping her from the inside as a Soonami employee.

The story is nothing special. Where “Free Guy” excels is in its visuals. Taking place in a video game means anything is possible, so the turns are far from predictable, giving the film something different, while otherwise showing respect to much of its source material.

The daily wakeup routine is similar to “Groundhog Day.” The self-awareness that he’s not in the real world screams of “The Truman Show.” But it’s okay, because “Free Guy” knows it’s not original in these ideas. Instead, it lightheartedly steals Captain America’s shield for a laugh (and a cursing cameo from Cap himself, Chris Evans).

It busts out a lightsaber to the horror of Waititi, which again is tongue-in-cheek because Waititi directed an episode of “The Mandalorian,” is working on an upcoming “Star Wars” movie, and also directed Marvel’s “Thor: Ragnarok.”

“Free Guy” director Shawn Levy might be best known for producing “Stranger Things,” which Keery stars in. It feels like a big happy family just having a good time.

The story is largely unoriginal, but they own it. It doesn’t take itself seriously, and with its stellar special effects, watching it is all fun and video games.


“Free Guy” is in theatres and available to purchase on demand.