Free Guy is goofy, sincere and fun, probably even more so if you’re into gaming. Personally, I didn’t know an “NPC” from a “Player One,” so it took me a bit longer to embrace the virtual videogame world on display in Free Guy. But in fairly short order, the story and the characters grew on me, and by the end, I was all in – rooting for characters of both the real and the programmed variety, especially our ‘every guy’ hero, Guy, aka “Blue Shirt Guy”, played by Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool).
Reynolds plays a bank teller named Guy who discovers he is actually just a background player (a so-called NPC, or non-playable character) in an open-world video game called “Free City.” Every day he goes through the same motions, dodging bullets and bad guys alongside his bank security guard buddy, Buddy (Lil Rey Howery). Think ‘Groundhog Day’ in a virtual world. One day, however, Guy spots the girl of his dreams, who happens to be one of the “sunglass people” (i.e. the real-world players sitting at home, or in their momma’s basement, seeking to score points and level up) Guy’s eyes are open up to a whole new world, and he embarks on a mission to save Free City from the evil machinations of real-world game distributor Antoine (Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit). Free Guy has a bit of a Ready Player One vibe but is far more lighthearted. And Reynolds is like a PG version of Deadpool, trading in his bodysuit for a blue shirt and khakis.
Free Guy boasts a bunch of cameos and will appeal most to those who share a passion for things like gaming, writing code, and advances in AI. For the rest of us – it’s simply a cute flick with a sweet message about taking control of your life and environment, and rallying your community to fight for the greater good.
Free Guy is currently only in theaters. It’s not a must-see, unless you are vaxxed, masked and really into video games or alternate realities. Otherwise, wait until it’s available to rent or stream or watch on an airplane if/when it’s safe to travel again!