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KPCW sends its most discerning moviegoers to the movies each week to let you know which films are worth going to, and which are a pass. The Friday Film Review airs after the Noon News at 12:30PM and during The Local View. KPCW Friday Film Reviewers are: Barb Bretz, Rick Brough, Mark Harrington, Linda Jager.

Friday Film Review--"Free Guy"


A new fantasy-adventure called “Free Guy” is aiming to pull audiences back into the theaters.     Rick Brough has the lowdown for the Friday Film Review.

Ryan Reynolds plays Guy, a chirpy, bland character who works at a big-city bank.

He wears the same blue shirt every day, spouts the same catchphrases, and makes the same old complaints to his buddy (who is named Buddy) about never finding the right woman.

And he complacently goes through the same routine every day, like all his friends and neighbors, even though they live in the incredibly violent Free City, which looks like Gotham City on its worst week, as directed by Michael Bay, times infinity.

It’s not long before the secret is revealed.    Guy the likable character—is a character, in a video game “Free City .”    He’s just background for the “sunglass people”—who can fly around, rob, maim and murder all they want.    They are, of course, avatars for the gamers in the real world playing “Free City.”

It all changes when Guy sees a mysterious brunette in sunglasses named “MolotovGirl” and loses his heart.    Something stirs in him, he grabs the glasses off a bank robber and when he puts them on—like the hero in the 80’s classic “They Live”—he sees a whole new world.

In the real world, “MolotovGirl” is Millie (played by Jodie Comer).   She and her old partner Keys (played by Joe Keery) had their programming stolen for “Free City.”    They don’t realize yet how much of their emotions they put into the game, and how that enables, say, an obscure background character to achieve sentience.

The movie is a great showcase for Ryan Reynolds, who maintains a lovable naivete, even while his character is rebellious, hurt, or baffled by a massive identity crisis.    Ultimately he becomes a do-gooder hero in the game, known as Blue Shirt Guy.

Along with “Deadpool”,  Reynolds may pull off a Harrison Ford—scoring a success with two franchise characters.

The creators of the film have a background in likable fantasy films.   Director Shawn Levy may be best known for the “Night at the Museum” movies.

Also in the cast—the obnoxious, mercenary gamer mogul Antwan is played by Taika Waititi.      Channing Tatum appears as a muscle-bound sunglass person—who is in real life (no surprise) a colossal dork living with his mom.    And there’s a cameo by Alex Trebek, a tell-tale sign that the movie’s release was delayed by the pandemic.

The story’s climax feels like it’s running a little long—as if the creators wanted to show off every gamer plot-twist and special effect in the book.    But it has a nice moral—that even in a video universe, you can be who you want to be.

On a player level, I would say that “Free Guy’ gets to three and a half on a scale of five.   For the Friday Film Review, I’m Rick Brough.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
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