Game over

FREE GUY (12A – 115 minutes)

With Jodie Comer’s well deserved Golden Globes success as assassin Villanelle in the wonderful Killing Eve, it was inevitable that the movies would come knocking at her door and she has described her first taste of working in Hollywood as being like TV except it’s a million times bigger.

But a full two years after the trailer was first released, with Free Guy finally in cinemas we are able to see a perfect example of how bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better.

For once, this is not a screenplay adapted from a theme park ride, a graphic novel or, as it turns out, a computer game as the program here is completely fictitious.

Bank clerk Guy (Ryan Reynolds) goes through the same routine every day, oblivious to the mayhem going on around him and unaware that he is, in fact, a background character in a computer game.

Until a chance encounter with Molotov Girl, the avatar of games designer Millie (Comer) and suddenly Guy begins to question his life and break free of his programming.

Reynolds is at a stage in his career where he’s very much in the driving seat of anything he chooses to make, acting as producer and often co-writer, be that credited or otherwise, but with Free Guy, although not without its moments, for the first time, playing to what has become the Ryan Reynolds brand of wisecracking hero is starting to wear a bit thin.

And not even Comer proving she is more than capable of adapting to the big screen, a villainous turn by Taika Waititi (whose rampant improvising was apparently consigned to the cutting room floor by director Shawn Levy) and the now expected cameos which this time include Channing Tatum and the voices of Hugh Jackman, Dwayne Johnson, Tina Fey and John Krasinski can elevate Free Guy above throwaway Reynolds vehicle.

He’s so much better than this explosion in a green screen factory.

RATING: 5/10


Mick Ferris

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