★★★★ - STUFF
- The little things turn this good Ryan Reynolds comedy into a great one -
It’s the most inspired pop-culture moment of the year so far.
A truly unexpected two-second, three-word, one-line cameo that will have you initially shocked and then laughing like a drain for minutes afterwards.
And it’s one of the many little things that turns this good film into a great one.
Sure the premise of this somewhat surprisingly romantic comedy isn’t exactly original – it’s essentially a mash-up of The Truman Show, Wreck-It Ralph, The Matrix, TV’s Westworld and Groundhog Day – but it more than gets by, and indeed thoroughly entertains, thanks to charismatic turns by ever-increasingly versatile and impressive Jodie Comer (Killing Eve) and the now seemingly always-reliable Ryan Reynolds.
He comes across as having an absolute ball here, playing Guy, a non-player character in the mega-popular online gameworld of Free City. With his hilarious inner-monologues, indefatigable upbeatness and wide-eyed naivety, he’s kind of like the family-friendly “white mirror” of his beloved “Merc with a Mouth” Deadpool and boy are his observations and narrations hilarious.
More than content with his pet goldfish, best friend Buddy (Lil Rel Howery) and job at the bank, Guy greets each day, medium, scalding coffee and near-hourly heist with a sunny disposition and cheery smile. But when he spies the seemingly mythical “girl of his dreams”, he suddenly has the urge to break from his regular routine.
Grabbing a pair of sunglasses off a would-be robber, he accidentally shoots them and then finds his rose-tinted view of his world transformed into a city full of power-ups, loot and missions. Eventually catching up with Molotov Girl (Comer), he discovers she shares his same love of bubblegum ice-cream and Mariah Carey, but is also fanatically focused on finding a video clip.
What he doesn’t understand is that she’s actually the avatar of Millie Rusk, a young woman desperate to locate the evidence she needs to prove that her A.I. engine was key to the creation of the Free City game. However, gaming company Soonami boss Antwan (Taika Waititi) will do anything it takes to stop them, even if that means compromising his own cash-cow.
Yes, thankfully this re-teaming of the Green Lantern duo offers far more entertainment than that now decade-old farrago, Waititi giving good bad-guy, even maybe making Hollywood think of kick-starting a new trend towards Kiwi-accented villains.
Throw in a full-throttle cameo from Channing Tatum and a beautifully poignant one by the late Alex Trebek and the result is a breathless, hilarious couple of hours at the cinema.
- James Croot, STUFF
Free Guy is now playing at Light House Cinema!