Updated: Sep 17, 2021
By T.C. Lesesne
Click the screen below to see why "FREE GUY" Staring Ryan Reynolds is one of the best comedies of the year.
Guy is his name and he is a happy-go-lucky bank teller, enjoying life to its fullest and taking every opportunity to uplift his customers and people on the streets. Guy's got it going on, but he's in for a big surprise when his life turns upside down. For moviegoers, we quickly learn that there's more to Guy than meets the eye. Free Guy is an action comedy that could be classified as sci-fi. It stars Ryan Reynolds and a great cast of other lovable, and in some cases ridiculous characters.
Free guy was the buzz at Cinemacon and for good reason. This was an off the wall, futuristic comedy fest that is quite the thrill ride. The story was unique and original. The setting is both in the real world, and within cyberspace. The dynamics of video gameplay is in full effect and how gamers see the world is clear. Most importantly Free Guy gives our central character a purpose and direction that we don't realize fully until towards the end of the story.
I won't give away any spoilers but I'll just tell you that Ryan Reynolds was the right choice to head this story about a man living a humdrum life that he actually loves and is introduced to the woman of his dreams during a bank heist. This woman of his dreams takes him on a wild adventure to a completely different place, unlike what he's seen before while also shifting his mind and heart in the cyberspace world. By day he is a kind and inspirational bank teller who has coined the phrase, "don't have a good day, have a great day". We don't know what happens at night, we just see him waking up each morning. It becomes clear very quickly that something is awry with this happy-go-lucky bank teller.
There are plenty of other unique characters that make this story move, like Guy's best friend and sidekick played by Lil Rel Howery as Buddy, who happens to be the bank security officer. He’s got hilarious quips throughout the film and his energy adds a lot of fun to the film. His character’s scenes allow a break from its pacing so that characters reveal more about themselves and the world in which they occupy.
Two very important characters that kept the show moving are two gaming programmers (pictured above) that created the global video game called Free City. Millie, played by Jodie Comer, and Keys, played by Joe Keery created a game that gamers around the world are obsessed with playing. They are brilliant, inventive game programming partners that are charged with figuring out why certain "glitches" happen in the game.
I enjoyed all of the characters, but those supporting characters can take a film to the next level - which is what Utkarsh Ambudkar delivered in his role as chief programmer and security tyrant Mouser. His action sequences in a rabbit suit are awesome.
Then there's the head of the company played by Taika Waititi as Antionne. We could say he's the villain but then again there are many other forces working against our free guy. Antoine is a silly, eclectic billionaire at the top of the video gaming world. Antwan is the egotistical mogul behind Soonami, the studio that makes Free City, the open-world video game in which Guy lives.
Antwan is the villain who effectively co-opted and stole the game code and got all the richer for it. Levy, the films director says "Antwan is, I think, a villain for the ages. Someone that you delight in but also hate to death, and the fact that Taika is able to walk that razor’s edge and make him both loathsome and hilarious, is a testament to that guy’s talent." We agree, this is a new kind of villain, a cyber villain with jokes, sarcasm and self-adoration. He's fun to watch and fun to cheer against.
There’s a lot more going on with the video game Free City than meets the eye so pay attention to the dialogue about it throughout the film. As far as game play goes, think of Grand Theft Auto on steroids; with a character memory that enables them to learn and adapt.
There were moments in the film where the pace was frenetic and packed with comedy that you can see while action sequences play out that you have to pay attention to in order to notice. Every time Guy walks outside, there's chaos all around him but he hardly notices. My advice to you while watching is to pay attention to the dialogue and the action but pay even closer attention to what's happening in the background. It's a real treat.
In closing I must say that the opening sequence for this film is one of the wildest rides you'll see in movies this year. I've got to give credit where it's due and for that this film gets a top score from me and a nomination for one of the best films of the year.