Ryan Reynolds asserts his movie star status with a rare original comedy film
By Craig Allan, Business Manager
This is a film with a lot of ideas about consciousness and purpose, yet it manages to keep the ideas together well in a movie that does not drag or feel too smart for the audience.
Free Guy is a bit of an anomaly in today’s film landscape. Even though it is an original big-budget movie that is playing exclusively in theatres, Free Guy rises above the standard fray of films today. The picture offers many laughs, a great cast, and a witty script.
Free Guy stars Ryan Reynolds as Guy: a non-playable video game banker in a violent, Grand Theft Auto-style open world online game. When encountering a beautiful, rough-around-the-edges player named Molotov Girl—played by Jodie Comer—Guy begins to think that maybe there is more to life than spending day after day being held up at gun point. As Guy becomes increasingly self aware he gains attention from the “creator” of the game, Antoine (played by Taika Waititi). The creator grows ever more annoyed by the antics of Guy and seeks to destroy the person who is ruining his game.
Free Guy is a film with a lot of ideas about consciousness and purpose, yet it manages to keep the ideas together well in a movie that does not drag or feel too smart for the audience. Reynolds, Comer, and Waititi all put in great work with Comer providing a cover of the movie’s signature song: “Fantasy” by Mariah Carey. Reynolds continues to prove that he is one of the best actors on the planet with a likable and funny performance. Waititi is also on top of his game playing an over-the-top game developer that dresses like an obvious critique of the average game designer. The movie is also filled with many great cameos. One of the best being an on-set Jeopardy! appearance by late host Alex Trebek.
The movie is not perfect though; Waititi is not featured enough despite some great one-liners like his love for sequels (I think many would like a restaurant named Albuquerque Boiled Turkey). The biggest laugh in the movie comes, ironically, from the use of some intellectual properties that the movie could incorporate due to the studio 20th Century Studio being bought by Disney during pre-production in 2019. Overall, the movie is a fun action-adventure film that provides a level-up for a box office that sometimes consists of too many movies that lack surprise.
This movie could also very well be a time capsule of how movies used to be made and distributed. An original movie released in theatres that by all accounts is achieving its success by good old word of mouth and the strong presence of its lead actors. Reynolds has said that this was the first film he really involved himself with since his popular Deadpool movie. He has been showing his devotion by consistently posting promotional material for the film with his trademark humour—and this includes a tongue-in-cheek video where him and Waititi pretend not to remember that they both appeared together in the reviled Green Lantern movie.
After a successful opening weekend, Reynolds reported that Disney is interested in a sequel. The irony is not lost on Reynolds that his movie, that was championing its original status, will now join the parade of movie sequels. But audiences will surely be interested in going back to Free City. This is a sweet fantasy of a movie that viewers will surely fail to forget.