[REVIEW] ‘Free Guy’ or A Charming Video Game Rom-Com Delight

For some reason I seem to enjoy movies that dive into technology more than most. I liked Ralph Breaks the Internet, Ready Player One, Space Jam: A New Legacy…the list goes on. I even like old classics of the genre like Tron and the anime film Summer Wars. Maybe it’s just because I’m online so much that these movies strike a chord with me and make me laugh but it is true I tend to like those types of stories.

Well, add another to the list in this genre because I loved the new movie Free Guy! To be honest, at first I wasn’t looking forward to it because I’m not a huge Ryan Reynold gal; however, he did a surprise commercial during Hallmark’s Christmas in July that I thought was hilarious and I knew I had to see this film

I am the founder of the Hallmarkies Podcast so naturally this promo cracked me up! And what a clever concept to have a video game character become self-aware. I am not a gamer but watching this reminded me of a mixture of the innocence of Emmett from The Lego Movie and the fun of the recent Jumanji reboot.

Ryan Reynolds plays the role of Guy who is an NPC or non-player character in a game called Free City. In this game the bank Guy works at is robbed at gunpoint each day and he along with a security guard played by Lil Rel Howery put up with it the robbers each day. One day he sees a kick-butt female character named Molotov Girl (Jodie Comer) and he starts to ask questions about his world.

Meanwhile on earth Joe Keery from Stranger Things plays a man named Keys who works for a video game maker called Antwan played by Taika Waititi. He suspects Antwan of stealing his video game coding but can’t figure out a way to prove it. I won’t tell you anything else but both aspects of the movie really worked for me.

My favorite part of Free Guy is a surprising one. While I loved the humor (it’s hilarious) the romance is what sold me. It’s no wonder they had an ad on Hallmark Channel for the movie. It’s a dual love story! I loved the chemistry between Keys and Millie and I also loved the banter between Molotov Girl and Guy. I was invested in both relationships and wanted them to succeed.

As I said, I also really enjoyed the humor. There are cameos which are fantastic (and of course I won’t spoil) but it’s not just cameos. It’s a script that uses its cast well especially Reynolds and comments on everything from youtubers to overpriced coffee. I was laughing from beginning to end.

I loved the sore by Christophe Beck but the film uses its soundtrack well for some very good laughs. I don’t know anything about video games but all of the details of the game felt believable to me. It’s also a movie that has something to say about free will and what constitutes a valuable worthwhile life. The script does a great job of getting you attached to the characters and wanting them to succeed.

Some may find Waititi’s villain to be a bit one note but I was fine with it. He’s such a charismatic, funny guy that it worked. It does borrow from other films but it still felt fresh and enjoyable because of the cracking script and energetic performances. It does have some language and innuendo so I would check the parents guide before you go if that is a concern for you.

I left Free Guy with a big smile on my face. It’s one of the best times I’ve had at the movies in a long while. Let me know what you think if you get to see it.

8.5 out of 10

Smile Worthy

Woman in Gold Review

woman in gold3Ah the movie that might have been…Sometimes a movie has such potential which is then squandered by bad writing and acting.  For instance, Disney’s Brother Bear frustrates me to no end because it had potential and then it makes one bad choice after another.  Unfortunately Woman in Gold is another such movie.  The true story at its core could have been a good movie but instead we get a tedious poorly acted melodrama.

It is the story of Maria Altmann who fought to reclaim the painting of her aunt by Gustav Klimit called Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer which was stolen from her family by the Nazis.

woman in gold4Old Altmann is played by Helen Mirren who does what she can with the bland role and script but we never see any uniqueness to her character, anything that feels authentic or real.  Instead she is just a victim we feel sorry for but don’t really get to know .

Ryan Reynolds plays her friends son  Randy Schoenberg who she hires as her attorney.  He has a wife and new baby and a new spot in a firm so taking on a side case with a long shot request is a risk.  Again this sounds interesting but Reynolds is really bad.  I didn’t buy him for a second in the part and he was completely flat except for when he had to get emotional but even that seemed to come out of the blue.

WOMAN IN GOLDI think a little more of a serious actor like a James McEvoy might have worked better.  I kept feeling like Reynolds was going to bust out laughing and instead he just rattles off legalize about the case.  He really was bad..

woman in gold2

Katie Holmes plays his wife and she’s beautiful but a terrible actress and Tatiana Maslany plays the younger Maria who flees Austria with her husband.  The flashback scenes go on way too long and it is all stuff we have seen before and not a lot of tension because we already know that they made it to America.  I actually nodded off for a few minutes I was so bored with the bad guys chasing the innocents around Vienna.

Then we get some courtroom scenes that I felt I had seen a hundred times and were completely predictable. They even make it to the Supreme Court and hmmm I wonder if she loses and all the effort was for not?

WOMAN IN GOLDA movie with a predictable ending is fine (for goodness sakes I just praised the Longest Ride) but I have to like the characters or the writing is sharp or something for me to latch on to.  At least in Longest Ride the couples had chemistry and it wasn’t trying to be all deep and meaningful just a dopey romance.  This has airs of an important movie but it fails in nearly every respect.

woman in gold5Helen Mirren is good and it is shot adequately but honestly I was bored and I normally don’t use the B word in my reviews.  I feel terrible about what happened to Altmann and her family but this movie isn’t the tribute they deserved.

In those annoying paragraphs at the end of the movie telling you about the rest of their lives we learn that Altmann gave most of the money to charities and the paintings are on display in New York.  That sounds much more interesting than a court procedural squabbling with Austria.

Sometimes I also felt that the movie treats the ‘bad guys’ at the Austrian government as if they are on the same level as the actual Nazis shown in the flashback sequences.  That’s a little ridiculous.  They want to keep a painting not murder 7 million innocent citizens.  I’m not saying Maria’s cause isn’t just because it is but the movie could have given some nuance to the Austrians.

No real content problems aside from some mean Nazis  and 1 f bomb but that’s about it.

Overall Grade- C- just for Mirren and a worthy story at its core. Content Grade- A-