One Fox movie that Disney didn’t sh-tcan after taking control of the studio earlier this year is Free Guy, a Ryan Reynolds project in which he plays Guy, a non-player character in a video game who gains sentience. The first trailer for Free Guy is here, and it looks like a classic Ryan Reynolds movie. Ever since Deadpool Reynolds has made one type of movie: Action-comedies where he plays a snarky-bordering-on-smarmy hero (see also: The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Detective Pikachu). Even in movies like Life and Hobbs & Shaw this is the character he plays, that’s how committed to the aesthetic he is. I have one very serious question: How long can he do this? How long before audiences get tired of this schtick?
Because I look at this trailer for Free Guy and I know exactly how it will go. Oh, not the plot, though that isn’t terribly hard to guess. I mean that this will be a movie in which Ryan Reynolds is funny, but not goofy—nothing can jeopardize how cool he looks in action shots. He will spew a thousand jokes a minute, maybe a third of them will land. Some of the jokes will be self-deprecating, but again, he will still look very cool all of the time. There will be a moral to the story, and the Reynolds-Hero will be revealed to have a warm, gooey center, but nothing about his behavior or actions will actually change in accordance with any lessons learned.
Free Guy would probably look better to me if I hadn’t seen Reynolds other, post-Deadpool work. Or even just seen either of the Deadpool movies, because Free Guy looks very much in the same vein. As it is, I feel like I’ve seen this half a dozen times before. The best parts of the trailer are the bit with Taika Waititi and Joe Keery, and any time Jodie Comer speaks (I always forget she is English!). Free Guy is a July 4th holiday weekend release next summer, which seems like tempting fate. It comes out smack dab in between Top Gun: Maverick and Ghostbusters: Afterlife. That is not a great spot for a movie to thrive. To date, people have not tired of Ryan Reynolds’ schtick, but I honestly wonder how much longer his streak can last, especially when he is doing the same thing over and over. And that unforgiving summer release date makes me wonder if someone at Disney is also hedging against Ryan Reynolds Audience Fatigue setting in.