by KJ Proulx
Movies based on video games haven’t had the best representation, to say the least, but when you’re talking about films that are literally about a video game as the film itself, sometimes that actually works really well. I enjoyed Ready Player One and I even have a soft spot for the film Gamer. Free Guy is now playing in theatres and it’s the latest film to do just that. While this movie is far from perfect and I even rolled my eyes a few times, I had a blast watching it. It may just be the fact that when a movie strives to just be fun and it ends up accomplishing that task, I always feel satisfied. Here’s why, even with its issues, Free Guy is worth seeing.
The premise is as simple as this; a background character in a video game called Free City begins to think for himself and realizes he’s fake, just as the game may possibly wipe out any chance he has at developing further. Played zanily by Ryan Reynolds, his character of Guy begins to fall in love with a real-world player. Flashing back and forth constantly from the real world to the game, this movie finds a nice balance of the two. In particular, I really enjoyed the character Keys, played by Joe Keery. The subplots involving the coders of Free City were one of the best aspects. Where this film won me over on multiple occasions though, was with its cameos.
I won’t ruin any of the cameos for those who are unaware, but this film is almost genius at times for how they find ways of bringing in other celebrities. For the few split seconds that certain actors are on screen, I was laughing very hard. Most of the cameos are played for jokes, but they also served as solutions for the story overall. For that, I really admired the fact that they were able to get all these people to appear. Free Guy does not hold back in terms of references, but it never feels like too much. They ride the very fine line nicely.
On top of all the talent on-screen, director Shawn Levy has been someone who has nearly always impressed me behind the scenes. Sure, films like Cheaper by the Dozen, The Pink Panther, and Night at the Museum are not great movies by any means, but I find charm in all of his efforts. It was when Real Steel hit theatres though that I really started to notice him evolving as a filmmaker. That film still remains my favourite of his work and I also really enjoyed his more dramatic turn with the film This is Where I Leave You. After now seeing Free Guy, I can’t wait to see what he works on next.
Overall, Free Guy rides the line of being too corny almost the entire way through, and even when it seems like it’s pushing it too far, it always pulled back. I took this film as meant to be nothing but a fun time at the theatre and that’s exactly what it was. Yes some of the references are a bit much at times and I did find some of the secondary characters to be pointless, but the majority of the film is just plain fun. I even enjoyed the chemistry between Ryan Reynolds and Jodie Comer. If you’re looking to just sit back and have two hours of fun at the movies, Free Guy deserves some love.
Check out the trailer below: