Micro-Review: Free Guy (2021)

Ryan Reynolds in Free Guy

Its fitting that Free Guy, the video game inspired comedy directed by Shawn Levy is set in two very different worlds because it consistently feels like one that belongs to two different studios. Originally developed under the 20th Century Fox banner, Free Guy finished up production after the merger with Disney so huge sections of the film’s finale feel tacked on to embrace this newfound synergy with 20th Century’s new parent company. None of that does anything to answer the question of if it is good or not but give me a second to explain why it might just make the Ryan Reynolds starrer a little less genuine than Levy is clearly shooting for. Telling the story of video game character Guy (Reynolds) who is pushed out of his stupor by player Millie (Jodie Comer), leading him to change the world he is living in for the better.

The best word to describe Free Guy, despite how it riffs on the gameplay of Grand Theft Auto games and their lack of consequences, especially when it comes to killing random people on the street, is earnest. This is a film that uses Reynolds affability to create a warm world and while it feels like something you’ve seen before there is enough here to keep you engaged and even thrilled right up to a finale that loses itself in easter eggs and callbacks to really capitalise on a genuinely emotional story. Instead the mouse house pay service to everything from The Avengers to Star Wars in what feels like a pull to a younger audience. Despite some great turns by Comer, Reynolds and Joe Keery, Free Guy is let down by its ending, but there is something quite touching before the Disneyfication comes into play.


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