Published on October 29th, 2021 | by Kim Kurtenbach0
As we patiently wait for Deadpool 3, season four of Stranger Things and Killing Eve, cast members from each franchise come together to give us something to snack on in the meantime.
I love a smorgasbord. Some call it a buffet, but the difference is negligible. I just love the idea of heaping a plate with hot and cold foods from various parts of the world: sushi, pancakes, macaroni salad and bratwurst. Whatever the hell I want, it’s my plate.
It seems the makers of Free Guy (2021) feel the same way, and made smorgasbord of a movie for us to enjoy in any way we want. It’s a popcorn flick and a genre mash-up that gives a tip of the chef’s hat to various movie premises of the past, albeit much more though provoking ones.
My first thought was how the beginning of Free Guy reminded me of Groundhog Day (1993). Then I found myself trying to recall Isaac Asimov’s laws of robotics, wondering how much Westworld (2016) or Ready Player One (2018) inspired this ridiculous farce, and contemplating the continuing long-reach influence of The Matrix (1999). But Free Guy is too much fun to spend more time listing movies that it may have pilfered from.
The reason to invest 1 hour and 55 minutes of time into the latest Ryan Reynolds flick will be different for everyone, but it stands to reason that the loveable Canuck and star of the Deadpool films is number one. Unlike his more recent projects, such as 6 Underground (2019) or Life (2017), Free Guy is a chance to watch my favourite kind of RR: the goofy, naturally comical version of an insanely multi-talented star just being hilarious and likeable. It’s hard not to like Reynolds in anything he does. I want to drink gin, watch Welsh football matches and do 400 sit-ups every morning just to be more like him. Okay, not the sit-ups.
Reynolds is also a producer, and seems to understand very well that any project he gets involved in requires a supporting cast to challenge and bolster his star power. Free Guy is no exception and has such a pleasantly surprising cast that my lure into the film was Jodi Comer. Comer is best known as the outrageous psychopath Villanelle in Killing Eve (2018), and once again shows that she can imitate accents with the same ease that Paul McCartney can play multiple instruments. She also does very well to not be comically obliterated by Reynolds during shared screen time, and that’s no easy task.
Lil Rel Howery basically plays the same character in Free Guy as he does in Get Out (2017), but we get some big screen time with Joe Keery [you know him as Steve Harrington in Stranger Things (2016)]. Fun fact: Keery was cast in Stranger Things as a bully who was soon to be killed off. However, the cast of actors on the set loved Keery so much, they pressed hard to have his character re-written as a mainstay with more scenes. And, voila! A guy with amazing hair finally gets a break in this world. Add in a couple funny scenes with an uncredited Channing Tatum, the acting talents of Taika Waititi [director of The Mandalorian (2019) S01EP09 and star/director of Jojo Rabbit (2019)], a healthy $120M budget, Canadian director Shawn Levy, and you get a pretty good crew to make a very fun movie.
Free Guy isn’t going to blow your mind or touch your soul, but it will titillate your eyeballs with a mix of real world action and contemporary video game graphics. The genre and tropes will remind you of many movies you’ve seen before, but the point of it is to shut off your brain, shove some buttered popcorn into yer talking hole, and enjoy the ride. Reynolds and his crew know how to cook up a smorgasbord of laughs.
Now streaming on various platforms including Amazon Prime and Disney, Free Guy is basically free, guy.