Free Guy parents guide

Free Guy Parent Guide

The story starts slow but gets better, smarter, and funnier as it goes on - enough to make it sophomoric instead of infantile.

Overall B

In Theaters: Ryan Reynolds stars as Guy, a background character in an open world video game. He develops a sense of self and is motivated to take action when he learns that the video game is about to go offline.

Release date August 13, 2021

Violence B-
Sexual Content C
Profanity C-
Substance Use A

Why is Free Guy rated PG-13? The MPAA rated Free Guy PG-13 for strong fantasy violence throughout, language and crude/suggestive references

Run Time: 115 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Guy (Ryan Reynolds) lives a life of unvarying predictability. Every morning, he wakes up, says good morning to his goldfish, grabs a coffee, and heads to work at the bank, where he is robbed at gunpoint repeatedly until his shift ends. Then he goes home, gets some sleep, and does it all again. Until, that is, he is dazzled by Millie (Jodie Comer). Guy realizes that his chances are slim - she’s one of the “sunglasses people” – the kind of people who run around with tanks, shoot up the streets, rob the bank where he works. But when he gets his hands on some of those sunglasses, Guy sees his world in a whole new light. He lives in a city of quests, objectives, loot, and characters – a video game. And he’s just another non-player character, going about his business as the real players tear up the town. With Millie’s help, though, they might just be able to change something…

I like video games, as I’m sure most of you do. I also tend to hate movies about video games. They have an awful habit of latching on to the loosest visual cliches and then making pop culture references for two hours instead of having a plot – I’m looking at you, Ready Player One. Or Ralph Breaks the Internet, which is less a film and more two hours of uninterrupted product placement for Disney’s intellectual property. Agonizing.

I’d be lying to you if I told you that Free Guy doesn’t do some of both – settle for lazy pop culture references and flog existing entertainment franchises. The difference is that, unlike the other films, Free Guy has Ryan Reynolds. And while Reynolds’ fast-paced comic stylings are typically associated with raunchier adult comedy (Deadpool, anyone?) he’s managed to tone it down a few notches for the kids. The other difference is that someone in corporate Disney accidentally let this movie escape production with some heart. Not a lot, but enough. Or maybe that’s just my teary nostalgia at the cameo by the late, great Alex Trebek.

Although Reynolds has dialed down the profanity and sexual innuendo, Free Guy is still pretty well placed at a PG-13. There’s a fair bit of scatological cussing floating around like debris in a public pool, and some remarkably crude sexual references which were more than enough to catch me off guard, and which make this a less suitable choice for younger viewers.

Although the story starts slow, it gets better, smarter, and funnier as it goes on – enough to make it sophomoric instead of infantile. Maybe you’ll enjoy the cameos from video game streamers, maybe you’ll laugh at the goofy slapstick, or maybe you’ll just have fun watching Ryan Reynolds try not to swear. But there is more to enjoy here than I would have anticipated, and I’m sure you can find something to like too.

Directed by Shawn Levy. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Taika Waititi, Jodie Comer, Lil Rey Howery. Running time: 115 minutes. Theatrical release August 13, 2021. Updated

Watch the trailer for Free Guy

Free Guy
Rating & Content Info

Why is Free Guy rated PG-13? Free Guy is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for strong fantasy violence throughout, language and crude/suggestive references

Violence: Video game characters are repeatedly shot, punched, blown up, set on fire, stabbed, and thrown huge distances. These incidents are entirely non-fatal.
Sexual Content: There are several crude and (to varying degrees) explicit sexual references, including mention of masturbation, strippers, and virginity. There is a crude comment relating to male sexual arousal.
Profanity: There is one use of extreme profanity, 15 uses of scatological cursing, and occasional use of mild profanities and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None.

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Free Guy Parents' Guide

This movie raises interesting points about bad behavior on the part of video game studios. What are some notable examples of large studios bullying smaller producers? Blizzard, the studio famous for producing World of Warcraft, has recently been rocked by some serious allegations. What are they? How has the company responded? What do you think creates problems like this? This movie also alludes to staff being overworked – what is “crunch” in video game development? How does it effect the resulting product? What are some recent games which have been criticized for over-stressing staff to meet arbitrary deadlines?

Home Video

Related home video titles:

This film has striking similarities to Wreck-It Ralph, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Ready Player One, and The Truman Show. Movies adapted from video games include Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, Sonic the Hedgehog, Monster Hunter, and Tomb Raider.