FREE GUY. Shawn Levy, director, producer (one of five). Matt Lieberman, story; Lieberman and Zak Penn, script. Ryan Reynolds, producer (one of five), star. Ethan Tobman, production design. USA: Berlanti Productions et al. (prod.) / 20th Century Studios (dist.), 2021. See Wikipedia entry or IMDb for filmographic details.
The Wikipedia entry labels the film "science fiction action comedy" and notes that critics have compared the film favorably with "a combination of action video games and science fiction films such as Ready Player One, The Truman Show, The Matrix, Grand Theft Auto, and FORTNITE (the last an on-line game and proposed fan-film), while IMDb at least initially labels it Action, Adventure, Comedy. We'll call it recombinant cinema, and a treasure trove of tropes of interest for the theme of this wiki, and an SF film in the mode of romantic comedy, with satiric — and border-line dystopian and eutopian — moments and undertones. (In good satiric fashion, the film gets in a number of casual allusions, at least one moving into the thematic: Guy is a Blueshirt, an allusion to the Redshirts of Star Trek, disposable characters, one or two of whom may not live beyond the episode "teaser" opening.)
IMDb story-line: "A bank teller discovers that he's actually an NPC [non-player character] inside a brutal, open world video game." The Wikipedia entry on "Non-player character" notes that "In video games, this usually means a character controlled by the computer (instead of the player) that has a predetermined set of behaviors that potentially will impact gameplay, but will not necessarily be the product of true artificial intelligence." Ryan Reynold's "Guy" character does develop true AI and within the world(s) of the game he and others develop true Artificial Life (AL) — literalizing what is still mostly a figure of speech in game theory — and free will (or as much life and agency as we see with the specifically human characters in the film, FREE GUY).
The AI, AL, freedom — and from those rights issues — relate FREE GUY to a large number of works, e.g.,
• AI: COLOSSUS: THE FORBIN PROJECT, He, She and It, 2001: A Space Odyssey (novel) • AL: ST:NG, "Inheritance", Machines Like Me, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (film) — the "death of HAL-9000, SHORT CIRCUIT and SHORT CIRCUIT 2 • Rights of robots/androids et al.: Classically, Isaac Asimov, "The Bicentennial Man"; ST:NG, "The Measure of a Man"
Note also for Augmented Reality (AR) and the motif of humans inside an artificial construct — as noted by the critics with THE TRUMAN SHOW and the MATRIX series — but also with the VR people in THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR and many on Generation Starships en route (or lost) so long most or all of the current generation believe their ship is the world: e.g., original Star Trek "For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky".
RDE, finishing, 13Sep21 f.