Free Guy

Free Guy

2021, PG-13, 115 min. Directed by Shawn Levy. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Lil Rel Howery, Joe Keery, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Taika Waititi.

REVIEWED By Matthew Monagle, Fri., Aug. 13, 2021

If the internet is to be believed, the first teaser for Free Guy premiered in October 2019 as part of that year’s New York Comic Con celebration. Many, many things have happened between now and then, but the marketing for the film has endured, offering us a Ryan Reynolds-shaped rainbow at the end of our global pandemic. Now, for better or worse, Free Guy is finally playing (only) in theatres this weekend – and somehow this oft-delayed comedy about video games has earned its spot as the best summer movie of 2021.

As a non-player character in the popular sandbox game Free City, Guy (Reynolds) is an artificial intelligence who values his routine. But when an encounter with renegade gamer Molotov Girl (Comer) interrupts his meticulous programming, Guy begins to experience the world around him through the eyes of a player for the very first time. With the help of his best friend Buddy (Howery) – and a little manipulation from game designer Walter McKeys (Keery) – Guy sets out on a mission to change the world around him for the better and win the heart of the woman he loves.

Ever since Deadpool muscled its way out of production purgatory, Reynolds has leaned heavily into his brand of metatextual man-children. One of the many surprises of Free Guy is how well Reynolds and director Shawn Levy improve on this well-established persona. Guy is a beacon of hope and happiness in a chaotic world (think Ted Lasso spawned into the world of Grand Theft Auto) and this approach allows Reynolds to move a step beyond the Wade Wilsons and Michael Bryces of his career. Stripped of his signature cynicism, Reynolds proves that his charisma goes far beyond his creative use of profanity.

As a result, Free Guy deserves to be considered alongside late-Nineties movies like Pleasantville and Dark City, films that deconstructed our reality and asked us to embrace the underlying tenets of our humanity. Setting aside a miserable performance by Taika Waititi – who seems to regard the film as the half-hearted joke we all assumed it would be – Free Guy is an earnest exploration of humanity’s responsibility toward its progeny. The world of video game design becomes the perfect playground to ask ourselves what it means to be human – and how far we’d be willing to go to ensure the future of those who follow after us.

And while Free Guy offers a few too-cute cameos and nods to Twitch culture, the writers and director wisely elect to look inward to find a story worth caring about. This is no Ernest Cline novel; our emotional connection to the world and its characters goes far beyond the level of pop culture references. Free Guy takes the time to create something unique and grounded and make us care about the future of these NPCs. With every reason in the world to fail, Free Guy succeeds. It’s a welcome reminder that sincerity can still play as the basis for a Hollywood blockbuster.

Showtimes

Thu., Sept. 23

6:25, 9:35

Fri., Sept. 24

3:50, 7:20, 10:20

Sat., Sept. 25

12:15, 3:45, 7:00

Sun., Sept. 26

12:15, 3:45, 7:00

Mon., Sept. 27

3:45, 7:20

Tue., Sept. 28

3:25, 7:20

Wed., Sept. 29

3:25, 7:15

Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane

5701 W. Slaughter, 512/861-7060, drafthouse.com/austin/theater/slaughter-lane

Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Thu., Sept. 23

6:40, 9:45

Fri., Sept. 24

3:15, 6:40, 10:00

Sat., Sept. 25

11:50am, 3:15, 6:40

Sun., Sept. 26

11:50am, 3:15, 6:35

Mon., Sept. 27

4:30, 7:35

Tue., Sept. 28

6:20

Wed., Sept. 29

6:20

Alamo Drafthouse Village

2700 W. Anderson #701, 512/861-7030, www.drafthouse.com/austin/theater/village

Tuesday matinee Baby Day shows (first show of the day) are intended for parents and their children younger than 6. Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Thu., Sept. 23

2:50, 6:05

AMC Dine-In Tech Ridge 10

12625 N. I-35, 512/640-1533, www.amctheatres.com

Thu., Sept. 23

CC/DVS 6:30

Fri., Sept. 24

CC/DVS 3:40, 6:50

Sat., Sept. 25

CC/DVS 3:40, 6:50

Sun., Sept. 26

CC/DVS 3:40, 6:50

Mon., Sept. 27

CC/DVS 6:20

Tue., Sept. 28

CC/DVS 6:20

Wed., Sept. 29

CC/DVS 6:20

Barton Creek Square (AMC)

2901 Capital of Texas Hwy. S., 512/306-1991, www.amctheatres.com

Matinee discounts available before 4pm daily. Bring Your Baby matinees the first Tuesday of every month.

Thu., Sept. 23

CC/DVS 2:10, 5:10, 8:10

Cinemark 20 and XD

N. I-35 & FM 1825, 512/989-8535

Cost for 3-D and XD shows is regular ticket price plus a premium.

Thu., Sept. 23

digital 1:20, 4:15, 7:20, 10:15

Fri., Sept. 24

digital 1:30, 4:25, 7:30, 10:25

Sat., Sept. 25

digital 10:30am, 1:30, 4:25, 7:30, 10:25

Sun., Sept. 26

digital 10:30am, 1:30, 4:25, 7:30, 10:25

Mon., Sept. 27

digital 1:30, 4:25, 7:30, 10:25

Tue., Sept. 28

digital 1:30, 4:25, 7:30, 10:25

Wed., Sept. 29

digital 1:30, 4:25, 7:30, 10:25

Cinemark Cedar Park

1335 E. Whitestone, Cedar Park, 800/326-3264

Call theatre for complete list of movies and showtimes.

Thu., Sept. 23

digital 1:50

Fri., Sept. 24

digital 1:00, 3:50, 6:40, 9:30

Sat., Sept. 25

digital 1:00, 3:50, 6:40, 9:30

Sun., Sept. 26

digital 1:00, 3:50, 6:40

Mon., Sept. 27

digital 3:50, 6:40

Tue., Sept. 28

digital 3:50, 6:40

Wed., Sept. 29

digital 3:50, 6:40

Thu., Sept. 23

digital 4:35, 7:45

Fri., Sept. 24

digital 3:25, 6:40, 9:35

Sat., Sept. 25

digital 12:05, 3:15, 6:10, 9:20

Sun., Sept. 26

digital 1:35, 4:50, 7:55

Mon., Sept. 27

digital 4:35, 7:45

Tue., Sept. 28

digital 1:55, 4:50, 7:50

Wed., Sept. 29

digital 4:35, 7:45

Cinemark Round Rock

4401 N. I-35, Round Rock, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium. Call theatre for complete March 26-28 showtimes.

Thu., Sept. 23

digital 1:10, 2:40, 4:10, 7:10

Cinemark Southpark Meadows

9900 S. I-35, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Thu., Sept. 23

digital 2:00, 5:10, 8:20

Fri., Sept. 24

digital 2:00, 5:20, 8:25

Sat., Sept. 25

digital 10:10am, 1:05, 4:00, 6:55, 9:50

Sun., Sept. 26

digital 10:10am, 1:05, 4:00, 6:55, 9:50

Mon., Sept. 27

digital 2:00, 5:20, 8:25

Tue., Sept. 28

digital 2:00, 5:20, 8:25

Wed., Sept. 29

digital 2:00, 5:20, 8:25

Cinemark Stone Hill Town Center

18820 Hilltop Commercial Dr., 512/251-0938, www.cinemark.com

Thu., Sept. 23

digital 4:00, 7:00

Fri., Sept. 24

digital 3:00, 6:30, 9:40

Sat., Sept. 25

digital 12:10, 3:00, 6:30, 9:40

Sun., Sept. 26

digital 12:10, 3:00, 6:30

Mon., Sept. 27

digital 4:05, 7:00

Tue., Sept. 28

digital 4:05, 7:00

Wed., Sept. 29

digital 4:05, 7:00

Thu., Sept. 23

2:20, 4:55, 7:30

Fri., Sept. 24

4:40, 7:25, 10:00

Sat., Sept. 25

1:30, 4:05, 7:00, 9:35

Sun., Sept. 26

1:30, 4:05, 7:00

Tue., Sept. 28

2:20, 4:55, 7:30

Wed., Sept. 29

2:20, 4:55, 7:30

City Lights Theatre

420 Wolf Ranch Parkway, Georgetown, 512/868-9922

Thu., Sept. 23

1:25, 4:15, 7:05

Fri., Sept. 24

1:35, 4:35, 7:35, 10:10

Sat., Sept. 25

1:35, 4:35, 7:35, 10:10

Sun., Sept. 26

1:35, 4:35, 7:35

Mon., Sept. 27

1:35, 4:35, 7:35

Tue., Sept. 28

1:35, 4:35, 7:35

Wed., Sept. 29

1:35, 4:35, 7:35

Evo Cinemas Belterra

166 Hargraves Ste. A-100, 512/457-0700, www.evocinemas.com/drippingsprings

Thu., Sept. 23

12:30, 3:30, 6:30

Fri., Sept. 24

1:45, 4:45, 7:45

Sat., Sept. 25

1:45, 4:45, 7:45

Sun., Sept. 26

1:45, 4:30, 7:15

Mon., Sept. 27

1:30, 4:15, 7:00

Tue., Sept. 28

1:30, 4:15, 7:00

Wed., Sept. 29

1:30, 4:15, 7:00

EVO Entertainment

3200 Kyle Crossing, Kyle, 512/523-9009, www.evo-entertainment.com

Thu., Sept. 23

11:00am, 1:45, 4:30, 7:15, 10:00

Fri., Sept. 24

10:00am, 12:45, 3:30, 6:15, 9:15

Sat., Sept. 25

10:00am, 12:45, 3:30, 6:15, 8:00, 10:45

Sun., Sept. 26

10:00am, 12:45, 3:30, 6:15, 9:00

Mon., Sept. 27

12:45, 3:30, 6:15

Tue., Sept. 28

12:45, 3:30, 6:15

Wed., Sept. 29

12:45, 3:30, 6:15

Film Alley Bastrop

1600 Chestnut St, Bastrop, 512/321-0123, bastrop.filmalley.net/

Thu., Sept. 23

12:50, 3:45, 6:40

Fri., Sept. 24

12:55, 4:05, 7:25, 10:25

Sat., Sept. 25

12:55, 4:05, 7:25, 10:25

Sun., Sept. 26

12:55, 4:05, 7:25

Mon., Sept. 27

12:55, 4:05, 7:25

Tue., Sept. 28

12:55, 4:05, 7:25

Wed., Sept. 29

12:55, 4:05, 7:25

Flix Brewhouse

2200 S. I-35, Round Rock, 512/244-3549, www.flixbrewhouse.com/round-rock

Thu., Sept. 23

1:00, 3:00, 7:45

Galaxy Highland 10

6700 Middle Fiskville, 512/467-7305, www.galaxytheatres.com

No one under 18 will be allowed in the theatre on Friday or Saturday after 7pm without an adult.

Thu., Sept. 23

CC 2:00, 4:45, 7:30, 10:15

Fri., Sept. 24

CC 1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00

Sat., Sept. 25

CC 1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00

Sun., Sept. 26

CC 1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00

Mon., Sept. 27

CC 2:00, 4:40, 7:25, 10:10

Tue., Sept. 28

CC 2:00, 4:40, 7:25, 10:10

Wed., Sept. 29

CC 2:00, 4:40, 7:25, 10:10

Gateway Theatre

9700 Stonelake, 512/416-5700

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Thu., Sept. 23

CC 1:20, 4:30, 7:30
CC/DVS 1:20, 4:30, 7:30

iPic Theaters Austin

3225 Amy Donovan Plaza, 512/568-3400, www.ipic.com

Thu., Sept. 23

3:15, 6:15

Fri., Sept. 24

3:15, 6:15

Sat., Sept. 25

3:15, 6:00

Sun., Sept. 26

3:15, 6:15

AMC Lakeline 9

11200 Lakeline Mall Dr., Cedar Park, 512/335-4793

Discounts daily before 6pm.

Thu., Sept. 23

CC/DVS 6:20

Fri., Sept. 24

CC/DVS 3:45, 6:40

Sat., Sept. 25

CC/DVS 3:00, 6:40

Sun., Sept. 26

CC/DVS 12:40, 3:50, 7:00

Mon., Sept. 27

CC/DVS 6:40

Tue., Sept. 28

CC/DVS 6:40

Wed., Sept. 29

CC/DVS 6:40

Metropolitan

901 Little Texas, 512/447-0101

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Thu., Sept. 23

CC 4:10, 7:05
CC/DVS 4:10, 7:05

Fri., Sept. 24

CC/DVS 1:00, 3:50, 6:45, 9:35

Sat., Sept. 25

CC/DVS 1:00, 3:50, 6:45, 9:35

Sun., Sept. 26

CC/DVS 1:00, 3:50, 6:45, 9:35

Mon., Sept. 27

CC/DVS 3:55, 6:45

Tue., Sept. 28

CC/DVS 3:55, 6:45

Wed., Sept. 29

CC/DVS 3:55, 6:45

Moviehouse & Eatery

8300 FM 620 N., Bldg. B, 512/501-3520, www.themoviehouse.com/trails/

Thu., Sept. 23

12:00, 3:30, 7:00

Fri., Sept. 24

1:00, 4:15, 7:30

Sat., Sept. 25

1:00, 4:15, 7:30

Sun., Sept. 26

1:00, 4:15, 7:30

Mon., Sept. 27

4:15, 7:30

Tue., Sept. 28

4:15, 7:30

Wed., Sept. 29

4:15, 7:30

Moviehouse & Eatery - Lantana Place

7415 Southwest Pkwy., Bldg. 7, 512/572-0770, www.themoviehouse.com/lantana/

Thu., Sept. 23

12:00, 3:15, 6:30, 9:45

Fri., Sept. 24

12:00, 3:15, 6:30, 10:00

Sat., Sept. 25

12:00, 3:15, 6:30, 10:00

Sun., Sept. 26

12:00, 3:15, 6:30

Mon., Sept. 27

12:00, 3:15, 6:30

Tue., Sept. 28

12:00, 3:15, 6:30

Wed., Sept. 29

12:00, 3:15, 6:30

Southwest Theaters at Lake Creek 7

13729 Research #1500, 512/291-3158, www.southwesttheaters.com

$6.50 children and senior tickets (all-day), $5 Tuesdays (all tickets), Bargain Matinees before 5pm daily.

Thu., Sept. 23

CC 4:20, 7:10

Fri., Sept. 24

CC 1:20, 4:40, 7:20, 10:10

Sat., Sept. 25

CC 1:20, 4:40, 7:20, 10:10

Sun., Sept. 26

CC 1:20, 4:40, 7:20

Mon., Sept. 27

CC 1:20, 4:40, 7:20

Tue., Sept. 28

CC 1:20, 4:40, 7:20

Wed., Sept. 29

CC 1:20, 4:40, 7:20

Thu., Sept. 23

12:45, 3:45, 6:30, 9:15

Fri., Sept. 24

11:30am, 2:30, 5:15, 8:00, 10:45

Sat., Sept. 25

11:30am, 2:30, 5:15, 8:00, 10:45

Sun., Sept. 26

11:30am, 2:30, 5:15, 8:00, 10:45

Mon., Sept. 27

1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00

Tue., Sept. 28

1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00

Wed., Sept. 29

1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00

Westgate 11

4477 S. Lamar, 512/899-2717

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Thu., Sept. 23

CC 12:45, 3:45, 6:45
CC/DVS 12:45, 3:45, 6:45

Fri., Sept. 24

CC 1:15, 4:15, 7:10, 9:30

Sat., Sept. 25

CC 12:15, 3:05, 6:10, 9:30

Sun., Sept. 26

CC 12:15, 3:05, 6:10, 9:30

Mon., Sept. 27

CC 1:00, 4:00, 7:00

Tue., Sept. 28

CC 1:00, 4:00, 7:00

Wed., Sept. 29

CC 1:00, 4:00, 7:00

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Free Guy, Shawn Levy, Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Lil Rel Howery, Joe Keery, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Taika Waititi

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