Thanks to Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds is the king of knowing he’s in a movie. But what if he knew he was in a video game? That’s the prime question asked by the trailer for Free Guy, a collection of movie ideas that have been floating around throughout the 2010s and are held together by Reynolds’ sly smirk.
Elements of Truman Show, They Live, Ready Player One, The Emoji Movie, The Lego Movie, and more populate the trailer. Reynolds stars as “Guy,” an NPC who realizes he’s in a video game and, judging by the usage of “Baba O’Reilly,” goes on an emotional and action-packed journey into the heart of consciousness, free will, and knowing winks at the camera. Guy knows it’s all a game, but “this place, these people” is all he has. Taika Waititi plays a game developer who’s known to the characters as “God.” He’s a bit of a troll and he’ll have to stop the character with sentience because if a video game has sentience, wouldn’t that bring about the end of society? Honestly, there’s a lot to unpack there, which Free Guy’s trailer doesn’t have time to get into.
While Free Guy looks better than, say, Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, it does put into perspective how much space we all have for Ryan Reynolds’ Jim Carrey impression. The actor has been coasting on that “all righty then” charm since Van Wilder, but can it sustain a whole movie that is, essentially, a riff on one of Carrey’s best? Reynolds seems to think so. He said of his performance:
I do think it’s the best moviemaking experience that I’ve ever had easily but also I think the best movie I’ve ever done. You know, it’s the most pertinent to our times, in that sense. I mean, you know, where I feel Deadpool was like a movie that was pertinent to the comic book culture when it came out, this really to me speaks to a broader kind of spectrum of where we are in the world, and not only that, but how we are in the world. So that’s one of the reasons I think it’s my favorite movie.
Free Guy hits theaters on August 13.