Ryan Reynolds and Jodie Comer give a pep talk on the water in Free Guy.

It hasn’t been easy for fans who want to see a movie like Free Guy, as the Ryan Reynolds and Jodie Comer-fronted comedy has maintained a theatrical-only presence. Resisting the wiles of making a streaming debut, the team behind the 20th Century Studios picture have made sure to carve out a release window that’ll let the audience see this film in the big screen, and there’s been enough release pushes to prove this determination. With August 13 marked as the big debut for Free Guy, both Reynolds and Comer are absolutely excited for audiences to discover the film in theaters, and for very good reason.

Earlier this summer, I was part of a virtual roundtable on behalf of Free Guy’s upcoming release, with both Ryan Reynolds and Jodie Comer in attendance. Being part of an early group of critics that got to see director Shawn Levy’s film, I could see why watching Guy’s journey unfold in a theatrical setting was important to how the movie would play. There’s a lot of reasons why it works so well as an experience to go see at your local theater, so there’s some variety in what people can look forward to.

Asking what they were most looking forward to audiences discovering in Free Guy, both stars had their own outlooks on what was the big draw. In terms of how Ryan Reynolds sees the film, the most exciting piece of the puzzle is how the movie reflects our current pop culture climate. But upon further reflection, Reynolds nails down the big takeaway of Free Guy into four words:

For me it’s the easter eggs, which there are so many easter eggs in the movie. There’s so many little hidden cameos, there’s so many moments. I love movies that acknowledge and play with the cultural landscape, and [Free Guy] does that in ways that are unexpected and expected, I think. And I just want audiences to fucking have fun. The movie’s a fastball of joy, and that’s what I wish for people right now; is to just have a couple hours of pure joy in their lives and leave a theater the same way I used to leave movie theaters. Just grinning from ear to ear at the experience.

“To fucking have fun” is a pretty big intent that a lot of comedies go into production trying to reflect. But hearing Ryan Reynolds talk about how much he wants the potential audience for Free Guy to just dig in and leave the theater grinning really separated this project from most intended laugh riots you’ll see in theaters. This is especially true when you realize that Reynolds has found a kindred creative spirit in Shawn Levy, who, through films like Night at the Museum and Real Steel, has always tried to emotionally connect with the audience, while also going for that blockbuster 'wow' factor.

However, if you ask fellow Free Guy star Jodie Comer what she’s most excited for fans to discover, it’s the message at the center of the film. As we’re following an NPC player in a video game that tries to be “the great guy” in his life, there’s an undercurrent that takes the story in another direction than most would expect. It’s that unexpected humanity that really excites her about her work on Free Guy, which Ms. Comer described in this context:

And I think, for me as well, it’s like “an action-comedy”, and everyone thinks ‘Oh, I know what that’s gonna be’. I think this film has an undertone and it has a message without kind of forcing it down people’s throats, like ‘This is what you should take from this movie’. You end up coming away from it actually really moved, and feeling very connected. It relates to your own life in ways in ways in which I don’t think you expect. So I think it’ll be nice to see people connect to it in that way.

Comedy thrives on the unexpected, and Free Guy has an arsenal of twists, punchlines and random cameos that will have people doing double takes. But the most unpredictable aspect is how much Guy’s story will actually be able to move audiences, while also delivering a major blockbuster comedy that stars like Ryan Reynolds and Jodie Comer are capable of delivering. You’ll get to meet Guy, and the rest of the Free City world, when Free Guy opens in theaters on August 13.

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