SHE’S BACK – CFR
Somehow, I’ve gotten into a rut of reading and watching things that disappoint me. If it isn’t a novel being way too much like another that I read two years ago, then it’s Archangel with Daniel Craig in a thriller with no thrills and a worse ending than five Stephen King movies combined. So I was a little nervous when I popped the DVD for Free Guy into the tv. I remembered the trailer from a couple of years ago. I thought it looked awful, but I thought the trailer for Finding Nemo was awful, so I went with liking Ryan Reynolds and a story that seemed inoffensive to change my mind and give it a whirl.
In this film Reynolds is introduced as a super, SUPER nice guy who always wears a blue button down with his khakis and wishes everyone he meets has not a good day but a great day. He even takes in his stride a robbery at the bank he works in, and then starts his next day with the same good humor. The same everything as it turns out. He greats his fish the same, dresses the same, is robbed the same. We eventually discover Guy is an NPC, a Non Playable Character in gaming parlance. He isn’t supposed to do anything except be a character with a totally predictable response to the human gamers who play in his world.
This interweaving of “real life” and “computer” life has been done before in films like Jumanji, and Ready Player One, but the real world bad guy who threatens the computing world is played with a little more dynamic mustache twirling by Taika Waititi (dir. Thor: Ragnarok) than a typical interfacing bad guy. Ryan Reynolds is not as much fun as usual because he’s not here explicitly to be funny. He can and has portrayed angst, but it has always been better paired with humor before. The lack of it really weakens his game here. None of the actors did more than an okay job, though I will admit to enjoying Channing Tatum’s cameo.
The writing seemed to rely a lot on the plot of Ready Player One, with the deep immersion into a computer gaming world and the real world danger to the ones and zeros people but without any conceivable homages to classic science fiction or classic games. The movie expects us to respond to massively ubiquitous gaming tropes and still have an emotional response to the characters. In a real world inundated with stories of industrial malfeasance and indifference, it’s hard to feel much about cliché’d computer characters and super gullible good guys. Nothing struck me as being terribly clever, like the music being surprisingly standard and forgettable.
By the time the end credits came up over the disappointing ending, all I could think is how the movie fell completely flat without being terribly obvious about how. My week had now come full circle, and not one piece of fiction I had seen wowed me even a little bit. I wish Reynolds had been funnier, and that I could say there were some really clever moments of writing brilliance, but I really can’t. Even as a bit of eye candy this movie failed me, though if you can set your expectations lower you might enjoy it.
CFR: In Addition: Aww, I’m sorry Mildred. I really liked this. Yes it was very fluffy, but I did enjoy it. Hope you watch something you like better soon! – CFR