Free Guy (2021), All You Want To Know & Watch About A Great Movie
Free Guy (2021)
A bank teller discovers that he’s actually an NPC inside a brutal, open world video game.
Free Guy is a 2021 American action-comedy film directed and produced by Shawn Levy from a screenplay by Matt Lieberman and Zak Penn, and a story by Lieberman. The film stars Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Lil Rel Howery, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Joe Keery, and Taika Waititi. It tells the story of a bank teller who discovers that he is a non-player character in a massively multiplayer online game who then partners with a player to find evidence that a gaming company’s CEO stole the player’s game’s source code.
Free Guy premiered at the Piazza Grande section of the 74th Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland on August 10, 2021. Following a year-long delay as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was released theatrically in the United States three days later on August 13 in RealD 3D, IMAX, 4DX and Dolby Cinema formats by 20th Century Studios. It grossed $331.5 million worldwide. The film received positive reviews from critics for the concept, comparing it to science fiction films and action video games such as Ready Player One, The Truman Show, The Matrix, Grand Theft Auto, and Fortnite.
The film received a nomination for Best Visual Effects at the 94th Academy Awards. A sequel is in development.
Free Guy (2021) Trailer
Free Guy (2021) Reviews
He doesn’t care. Everything is awesome for Guy and his best pal Buddy (Lil Rel Howery) until the cheery fella spots a real player who goes by the handle Molotov Girl (Comer) and breaks his pattern, following the captivating woman down the street.
As he becomes more interested in Molotov Girl and where she might be going, he gets his hands on a pair of sunglasses that reveal what the actual players see in this world, including missions, medikits, hubs, and other things that will be familiar to modern gamers, even if some of the tech here already looks dated. (Note: It was a brilliant move to incorporate actual gamers and streamers like Ninja, Pokimane, and DanTDM, cameos that will have kids who know those personalities jumping out of their seats.)
Back in the real world, we learn that Molotov Girl is a programmer named Millie, who used to work with another tech genius named Keys (Joe Keery) on the development of a truly ambitious virtual game, one that would replicate the actual world instead of just giving gamers violent missions to perform. She’s in “Free City” trying to find evidence that the game’s egocentric publisher Antwan (Taika Waititi) stole her code and deformed it into this bland experience when Guy proves to be the perfect inside man.
The Trinity to his Neo, the two form an alliance to basically break “Free City” apart from the inside, starting with Guy’s refusal to raise his rank through violence. Guy chooses only the positive missions in the game, and becomes an internet success in the process as the world tries to figure out who this mysterious gamer might be, without realizing that he’s actually the most remarkable breakthrough in artificial intelligence in history. As Millie and Keys discover what has been created here, they endeavor to save true advancement from brash capitalism.
Director Shawn Levy does an admirable job of keeping “Free Guy” clicking and humming through several entertaining scenes in the first half, including a great montage of Guy’s “good” missions and a funny sequence in which Keys and his programming partner Mouser (Utkarsh Ambudkar) go after Guy, but he really starts to lose the pace around the hour mark, circling back to a lot of the same plot points and themes.
Rather than developing its own personality, the film struggles to shake the clear influence of other projects like “The Matrix,” “Ready Player One,” and even “The Truman Show” while also dropping in actual gaming and pop culture references with increasing regularity. The film’s best moments embrace the potential of this concept; its worst seem to be mimicking better projects.
She’s easily the best thing about the film, although it’s nice to see the affable Joe Keery get his best movie role to date too. Sadly, both cede a bit too much screen time to an overplaying Waititi in the second half of the movie, who hits the same unfunny beats over and over again and ends up feeling more cartoonish than the actual NPCs.
Every time that “Free Guy” threatens to become numbingly monotonous, a decision by writers Matt Lieberman and Zak Penn, or one by Comer or Reynolds, brings it back into focus. “Free Guy” is more disposable than it should have been, but it’s a pleasant enough distraction. Gamers often turn to virtual worlds to escape their own. It’s fun to see the journey taken in the other direction.
Free Guy (2021) Credits
Free Guy (2021)
Ryan Reynolds as Guy
Jodie Comer as Molotov Girl
Lil Rel Howery as Buddy
Joe Keery as Keys
Taika Waititi as Antoine
Utkarsh Ambudkar as Mouser
- Shawn Levy
Writer (story by)
- Matt Lieberman
- Matt Lieberman
- Zak Penn
- George Richmond
- Dean Zimmerman
- Christophe Beck
Free Guy (2021) Plot
Guy is a non-player character (NPC) in Free City, a massively multiplayer online role-playing video game (MMORPG). The players of Free City are distinguished from NPCs by the sunglasses they wear and spend their time robbing banks, fighting each other, and causing mayhem. Unaware that the world they live in is a video game, the NPCs are mostly oblivious to the chaos caused by players while living out their scripted lives.
Unemployed software developer Millie spends her time playing Free City to find proof that Soonami Studio stole the source code from the concept game she developed called Life Itself, which included novel artificial intelligence techniques for its NPCs. Her friend Keys is sympathetic but reluctant to help as he now works as technical support at Soonami.
Guy works as a bank teller alongside his best friend, security guard Buddy. After Millie’s avatar “MolotovGirl” catches his attention by singing his favorite song “Fantasy”, he begins to deviate from his programming, shocking Buddy by accidentally shooting a skull-masked player robbing the bank and leaving with his sunglasses. Believing Guy to be a hacker disguised as an NPC, Keys and his coworker Mouser unsuccessfully try to ban him from the game.
Accessing the players’ view of the game, Guy visits new areas and meets Millie at Revenjamin Buttons’ stash house, which holds evidence of her source code. Thinking Guy is a novice player, she advises him to level up after their first break-in attempt fails. Guy rapidly progresses through the game by benevolently completing missions, standing out from other players and becoming a worldwide sensation known as “Blue Shirt Guy”.
Keys eventually realizes that Guy is truly an NPC. Other NPCs that Guy interacts with also begin to develop self-awareness. Keys learns that Antwan’s planned sequel, Free City 2, is due to release in 48 hours and will completely replace Free City, effectively terminating all of the game’s NPCs. After Keys informs Millie, she tells Guy the truth of his existence, but he becomes frustrated and breaks off contact. Guy talks with Buddy and realizes that there is something more to their reality. Buddy helps Guy to get the evidence Millie wanted from Revenjamin Buttons.
Antwan sees that the popularity of Blue Shirt Guy threatens his plans to launch Free City 2. Antwan orders a server reboot, which resets Guy’s memories, but he regains his self-awareness when Millie kisses him. He recalls the location of an island containing remnants of the Life Itself source code, and they attempt to reach the island before Free City 2 launches and wipes all old content from the servers.
Antwan fires Keys, has every player removed from Free City, and sends an unfinished, muscle-bound character named Dude into the game. Initially overwhelmed, Guy puts the sunglasses on Dude, distracting him and allowing Guy to proceed to the island.
In a last-ditch attempt to stop him, Antwan begins smashing the game servers with a fire axe, erasing Buddy along with much of the game world while firing Mouser. Before he can destroy the final server, Millie offers a deal to abandon her lawsuit and surrender the profits of the Free City franchise to him in exchange for her creation.
Sometime later, sales for Free City 2 have slipped because of bugs in the games and laggy online play. An embattled Antwan gains negative publicity but claims he is a “victim”. Meanwhile, Millie salvages her code and releases the indie game Free Life, which includes Guy, Dude, and the other NPCs from Free City.
In the game, Guy reveals to Millie that his code is, in fact, a love letter to her from Keys. During the development of Life Itself, Keys had encoded what he knew about her tastes into an AI routine in the game, which was eventually incorporated into Free City. This explains why Guy felt uniquely drawn to MolotovGirl. After Millie leaves the game, she and Keys share a kiss.
Free Guy (2021) Box office
Free Guy grossed $121.6 million in the United States and Canada, and $209.9 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $331.5 million.
In the United States and Canada, Free Guy was released alongside Respect and Don’t Breathe 2, and was initially projected to gross $15–18 million from 4,165 theaters in its opening weekend. However, after making $10.5 million on its first day (including $2.2 million from Thursday-night previews), estimates were raised to $26 million. It went on to debut to $28.4 million, topping the box office.
The film made $18.5 million in its second weekend, remaining in first. The drop of just 34% marked the smallest second-weekend decline of any wide release of the summer, and the second-best of Reynolds’ career. Although it was dethroned by newcomer Candyman, the film continued to hold well in its third weekend, falling just 27% to $13.6 million.
Free Guy (2021) Critical reception
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 80% based on 289 reviews and an average rating of 7/10. The website’s critics consensus reads, “Combining a clever concept, sweet, self-aware humor, and a charming cast, Free Guy is frivolous fun.”
On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 62 out of 100 based on 51 critics, indicating “generally favorable reviews.” Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of “A” on an A+ to F scale.
Writing for Variety, Peter Debruge called the film an “at-times unwieldy mashup of multiple-reality blockbusters like The Matrix and The Lego Movie” and said that “Free Guy is a lot of fun, despite the fact that Levy and the screenwriters seem to be changing the rules as they go.”
Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times lauded both the “perfectly cast” Reynolds and “superb and charming Jodie Comer.” Giving the film three out of four stars, he wrote “Thanks in large part to the vibrant, funny, sweet, endearing work by Reynolds and Comer, Free Guy delivers.”
A.A. Dowd of The A.V. Club gave the film a C+ grade and said, “For all its casual mayhem, Free Guy turns out to be a rather cuddly crowdpleaser, a high-concept blockbuster trifle with bubblegum ice cream clogging its circuits.” Dowd contrasted the film with The Truman Show, saying “Reynolds replicates that slightly unhinged Truman Burbank grin but not the desperation behind it.”
Nick De Semlyen of Empire was critical of the film; he compared it unfavorably to 2018’s Ready Player One, and said that although it is “eager to please” it “doesn’t really hang together, even as you’re watching it.”
Free Guy (2021) Accolades
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s)||Result|
|People’s Choice Awards||December 7, 2021||The Comedy Movie of 2021||Free Guy||Won|
|The Male Movie Star of 2021||Ryan Reynolds||Nominated|
|The Comedy Movie Star of 2021||Nominated|
|Hollywood Critics Association Film Awards||February 28, 2022||Best Comedy or Musical||Free Guy||Nominated|
|Best Visual Effects||Swen Gillberg, Bryan Grill, Nikos Kalaitzidis, and Dan Sudick||Nominated|
|British Academy Film Awards||March 13, 2022||Best Special Visual Effects||Swen Gillberg, Bryan Grill, Nikos Kalaitzidis, and Dan Sudick||Nominated|
|Critics’ Choice Movie Awards||March 13, 2022||Best Comedy||Free Guy||Nominated|
|Critics’ Choice Super Awards||March 17, 2022||Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Movie||Free Guy||Nominated|
|Best Actor in a Science Fiction/Fantasy Movie||Ryan Reynolds||Nominated|
|Best Actress in a Science Fiction/Fantasy Movie||Jodie Comer||Nominated|
|Academy Awards||March 27, 2022||Best Visual Effects||Swen Gillberg, Bryan Grill, Nikos Kalaitzidis, and Dan Sudick||Nominated|
|Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards||April 9, 2022||Favorite Movie Actor||Ryan Reynolds||Nominated|
|MTV Movie & TV Awards||June 5, 2022||Best Comedic Performance||Won|
|Best Fight||Guy vs. Dude||Nominated|
|Saturn Awards||October 25, 2022||Best Science Fiction Film||Free Guy||Pending|
|Best Supporting Actress||Jodie Comer||Pending|
Free Guy (2021) pictures
Free Guy (2021) Movie Info
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