A colleague called FREE GUY “the biggest surprise of the summer.” While I was surprised that FREE GUY was actually a good movie, I wasn’t as impressed with his glowing review.
The opening is a mash-up of THE LEGO MOVIE “Everything is Awesome” with a slice of “Don’t have a good day, have a great day” vibes from THE TRUMAN SHOW. Guy, played by the always lovable Ryan Reynolds, is an NPC (non-playable character) in a videogame that’s about to be upgraded by a cool pair of sunglasses.
That plot leaves a complicated set-up for the filmmakers. They have to balance switching between the real world and the videogame world, Free City, which they do flawlessly. It’s impressive that the stylistic choices don’t get run over by a “murder train” and, for the most part, actually work.
This movie has a lot of “bubblegum (ice cream)” eye candy. However, the soul of the film belongs to an NPC developing feelings. This journey has been explored before in far better movies (HER, EX MACHINA), but this is not a serious sci-fi movie. FREE GUY is more concerned with elaborate action set pieces and a love story with Millie / Molotov Girl (Jodie Comer).
While transported to FREE GUY’s “Sweet Fantasy, Baby,” I wanted more from the big bad, played over-the-top by Tiki Waitiki. It might be the point, though. The big bad is usually one-note in video games, which works for that medium, but falls flat on the big screen.
FREE GUY is available in theaters, and although you might not have a great day watching it, you will have a good one.