Reynolds and Comer shine in “Free Guy”

“Free Guy”

20th Century Studios

Directed by Shawn Levy

Starring Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Joe Keery, Lil Rel Howery and Taika Waititi

Rated PG-13

3 Stars


Ryan Reynolds has made a lot of money by starring in action films where his character makes humorous quips in between being beaten to a pulp. From “Deadpool” to “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” he seems to know that audiences enjoy watching this good-looking and funny guy being smacked around a bit in his movies.

Well, if it isn’t broken…

Reynolds’ latest film is “Free Guy,” a delightful action comedy where he plays Guy, a minor non-playable character in a Grand Theft Auto style video game. Despite all of the murder and mayhem that surrounds him in the game, Guy is a genuinely nice character who just wants you to “have a great day.”

Trouble comes in the form an unpredictable game character (Jodie Comer) who lets Guy in on the secret that he’s living in a video game. Most of us would fall apart at this existential crisis, but not Guy. He just smiles and decides to make some changes, hopefully saving his friends from being deleted along the way.

Guy suffers through a lot comedic action set pieces where he is usually the butt of the joke. You know, the kind of stuff that has Reynolds laughing all the way to the bank.

Reynolds is very good in these types of roles, but it’s Comer who really gets to shine here. She is playing two parts, a human coder out in the real world and her alluring video game avatar. She’s wonderful as each character.

The rest of the supporting cast is also quite fun, from Lil Rel Howery playing Guy’s best friend, another game character named Buddy, to Taika Waititi playing a human world game creator and going way over-the-top with his interpretation of a tyrannical software empresario. Plus, I will mention that there are a lot of cameo appearances that generate big laughs. I won’t spoil anything here, but it’s obvious that these famous faces jumped at the opportunity to join such a fun project.

While we’re on the subject of fun, the action is also thrilling. It’s set in a video game, so it’s purposefully outlandish, although the PG-13 rating keeps the blood down to a minimum. It’s too crazy to be taken seriously, so you can just sit back and enjoy the cartoonish mayhem.

Some might grouse that “Free Guy” steals plot points liberally from a host of other movies. That’s certainly a mark against the filmmaker’s creativity, but given its artificial world setting, it’s an easy fault to forgive.

The bottom line in “Free Guy” is that Reynolds is as charming as ever. He’s funny and game to take a self-deprecating punch or two. The rest of the cast is also in top form, as are the visual images and world building. It’s a film crammed with in jokes for gamers, yet plenty of appeal for those who don’t really play.

In short, “Free Guy” will please all audiences. Perhaps it might have been more accurate to call the movie, ‘Fun Guy.” Either way, it’s certainly worth taking a trip out to the theater for another dose of Ryan Reynolds’ charm.

Movie reviews by Sean, “The Movie Guy,” are published each week in “The Port Arthur News” and seen weekly on KFDM and Fox4. Sean welcomes your comments via email at [email protected].

Reviews by Sean McBride, “The Movie Guy,” are published weekly in the Idaho Press and seen weekly on KFDM-TV. Sean welcomes your comments via email at [email protected].

Opens Aug 16