Ryan Reynolds is Blue Shirt Guy, an NPC (Non Playable Character) in an open world, Fornite meets Grand Theft Auto style game called Free City – made by Soonami games. He does the same things day in and day out – eat breakfast, have coffee, chat with his bestie Buddy (Lil Rey Howery), worK at the bank and yearn to meet the love of his life. Then something happens, meeting the girl of his dreams no less (Millie, Jodie Comer), to make him break the loop and try to win the lady’s affection. His independence garners lots of attention and the games creator and Soonami boss Antwan (Taika Waititi) wants him destroyed.
Directed by Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum, Stranger Things), Free Guy is a fun, easy to like romp that is part Ready Player One and part Truman Show. Sharing the video game violence and colourful spectacle of the former – without the headache-inducing amount of references – with the questioning of what is real and what is fake of the latter.
It is a light hearted and action packed flick that flirts with deeper questions but gets quickly back to the madcap, and self aware, entertainment. Full of video game-esque car chases, bank robberies, fights and shootouts, interspersed with the real world drama happening offline. The story is pretty thin and easy to poke holes in, and it is a bit hokey in places but to dismiss it because of this would be missing the point, the point being fast paced, popcorn munching, fun ‘n frolics.
Ryan Reynolds is great as the pure and innocent Guy, he is his usual charming and witty self. Not to mention his loud best friend Buddy, played with verve and enthusiasm by Lil Rey Howery (Get Out). Joe Keery (he with the hair from Stranger Things) puts in a good shift, as the earnest and plucky video game maker and Soonami employee Walter ‘Keys’ McKey. As does Jodie Comer as the engaging lady on a mission, Millie. Taika Waititi’s Antwan is comically hammed up, bringing zany and slightly unhinged humour akin to Jeff Goldblum. With a wonderful bit roles for Channing Tatum, a few youtubers the only one I recognised being the shouty Irishman Jacksepticeye, and a glimpse of Chris Evans.
Free Guy is the perfect film to go back to the cinema for, a light hearted flick with humour and action aplenty and an infectious sense of joy. It is not deep but it will make you smile, although be warned it will leave a Mariah Carey song in your head.