“This world is just a game but…”

It dawns upon “Guy” (Ryan Reynolds), a non-engaged video-game character, that he’s (a) living inside an action-packed video game and that (b) his world is also about to end. And so he’s determined to change his fate by making himself the hero, and then saving the game before the developers can shut it down. But he’s only a digital construct, of course, and not a part of any organic scheme so where could this possibly lead? Talk about a story with nowhere to go.

Peter Weir‘s The Truman Show (’98) was a somewhat similar fantasy. Jim Carrey played Truman Burbank, an innocent who’s grown up living within a large, dome-shrouded TV set populated by actors…a guy who knows nothing about life except for this fake, fascistic realm. Written by Andrew Niccol, The Truman Show would have had a fascinating third act if (a) Truman had escaped the dome only to be shocked by how sad and frustrating and hugely difficult real life is, and then (b) returned to the dome, suddenly grateful that he has a place to live that’s much less “happier” that what the real world allows.

Free Guy would be interesting if Reynolds and or two of his fellow characters could somehow become human. I doubt this is in the cards.

Directed by the dependably shallow Shawn Levy and cowritten by Matt Lieberman and Zak Penn, Free Guy (20th Century Studios) pops on 12.11.20.