Linda Cook review: ‘Free Guy’ is well worth the money

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One of the most enjoyable video-game movies isn’t based on a real video game.

“Free Guy,” which made more than $28 million domestically at the box office, already is headed for a sequel.
No wonder. It’s an eye-catching, rollicking story about a person who discovers he can be more than he ever imagined. Who doesn’t appreciate that theme?

You should go in knowing the movie is, well, familiar. I guess you could consider it a tad derivative, because it has bits and pieces from “The Truman Show,” “The Lego Movie,” “The Matrix” and “Ready Player One.” Its predecessors make it all the more enjoyable instead of a copycat.

Ryan Reynolds is Guy, who lives a mundane life working at a bank, where he tells customers “Don’t have a good day. Have a great day.” Reynolds’ co-stars include Lil Red Howery (“Judas and the Black Messiah”) as his best pal, Jodie Comer (“Killing Eve”) as his love interest, and Joe Keery (“Stranger Things”) as a game developer.

When he learns he’s really a non-playable character in a video game, he begins to realize his life isn’t real. And in his “new” fast-paced world he becomes determined to change his existence for the better and find the girl of his dreams.

Lots of the movie, which never ceases to amaze with its visuals, is really funny. Disney, which picked up the film from Fox, is the distributor of the show, and there are a couple of really fun nods – one a blink-and-you’ll-miss it cameo – to the Disney/”Star Wars”/Marvel Cinematic Universe that were greatly appreciated by the audience of which I was part.

Gamers will love the references to video games throughout. Stick around for the credits to find out more about cameos you might have missed in this fun summer hit.

3 stars

Rated: PG-13 for coarse language and violence.

Running time: Just a few minutes shy of two hours.

In theaters.

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