Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Free Guy (2021)



Streaming Service: HBO Max
Movie Name/Year: Free Guy (2021)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
Length: 1h 55min
Rating: PG-13
Production/Distribution: 20th Century Studios, Berlanti Productions, 21 Laps Entertainment, Maximum Effort, Lit Entertainment Group, TSG Entertainment, Feelgood Entertainment, Forum Hungary, Kinomania, NOS Audiovisuais, Twentieth Century Fox, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Argentina, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Finland, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Germany, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Disney+, The Walt Disney Company Iberia, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Director: Shawn Levy
Writer: Matt Lieberman, Zak Penn
Actors: Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Lil Rey Howery, Joe Keery, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Taika Waititi, Channing Tatum, Aaron W. Reed, Hugh Jackman, Dwayne Johnson, Tina Fey, John Krasinski, Chris Evans, Alex Trebek, Lara Spencer, Matty Cardarople, Jonathan De Azevedo, Tyler Blevins, Destiny Claymore, Imane ‘Pokimane’ Anys, Lannan Eacott, Se├ín McLoughlin, Daniel Middleton
 
Blurb from IMDb: A bank teller discovers that he's actually an NPC inside a brutal, open world video game.
 

Selina’s Point of View:
This was not my first time seeing Free Guy. I highly doubt it’ll be my last, either.
 
Going into it, I knew what to expect – having seen it before. What I didn’t know was that it wouldn’t lose anything in the rewatch. Knowing everything that was coming, I still laughed out loud constantly. I even still caught feels every time it was required.
 
Free Guy isn’t for everyone. I don’t think those of us who adore it realize that at first look. Instead, it feels like a 2-hour inside joke for gamers. Sure, there are other pop culture references that would work for just about anyone, but the people getting the most out of it are going to be those of us completely immersed in gaming culture.
 

Another thing I think people don’t expect: the story does require brain usage. This is, by no means, a dumb turn-your-brain-off flick. It uses that kind of silly, ridiculous, humor to paint an actual picture. The argument over whether significantly developed AI is considered life is one that’s posed in a lot of creations. The most recent game I can think of that touches on it would be Detroit: Become Human. Of course, Free Guy doesn’t use any of that storyline, but it does bring the idea of humanity from AI into a Grand Theft Auto, or Saints Row, style game.
 
It questions digital violence against the possibility of sentient NPCs. It just wraps it all up in some epic action sequences and Ryan Reynolds (Life, Deadpool, The Adam Project) style humor.
 
On the second watch-through, I also noted more foreshadowing than I caught the first time through. There’s a technique in the writing that makes it a lot more subtle than anything else is portrayed.
 
I absolutely adore Free Guy. It’s a must-see.
 

Cat’s Point of View:
I had the opportunity to see Free Guy on the big screen when it was first released. I’ve actually watched it multiple times at this point. I think the large screen experience for this movie was the best to let this fantastic digital world shine, but it’s awesome in whatever format you can see it in.
 
Free Guy was absolutely amazing.
 
You don’t even have to be a hardcore gamer to get a lot of the references here. If you are, though, I imagine you’d feel like a kid in a candy shop with all the Easter Eggs that litter this film. I’d say that Free Guy is to the gaming experience what Ready Player One (2018) was for pop culture and cinema. It was a love letter to video games and gamers alike. It even railed against money-grubbing companies out for the profits over everything else. 
 
I didn’t expect Free Guy to get as deep and emotionally involved as it did. I expected action vibes and Ryan Reynolds to employ his wit and banter with a side of romance. Free Guy delivered on all of that but then also went deeper. It explores friendship, the need to feel fulfilled in life, and the existential questions that swirl around AI. I got misty-eyed at one point. I didn’t expect this production to make me cry. I mean, what the hell?
 

I loved every single minute of it.
 
The cast was bananas, too. Jodie Comer (The White Princess, The Last Duel, Killing Eve) kicked ass in her lead role and I loved the dichotomy of her character between action lead and her programmer persona. Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows, The Mandalorian, The Electrical Life of Louis Wain) is so likable, and yet his character in Free Guy was so vile. Lil Rel Howery (Brittany Runs a Marathon, The Photograph, Deep Water) was the perfect pairing for Reynolds’ as his character’s best friend. Joe Keery (Molly's Game, Spree, Stranger Things) continues to impress me in his roles outside of Hawkins. 

Oh, and I thought I was going to do a spit take when I saw Channing Tatum’s (Foxcatcher, Logan Lucky, Dog) character.
 
I think Free Guy has a little bit of everything in it and would appeal to a wide range of viewers. I would recommend this one in a heartbeat and will probably be watching it again soon because my husband and daughter loved it too.
 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 80%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 94%
Metascore – 62%
Metacritic User Score – 7.0
IMDB Score – 7.1/10
 
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating 5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating 5/5
 
Movie Trailer:

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