Free Guy earned its PG-13 rating primarily for frequent video game action violence, some strong language including 1 F-word, and a few sexual jokes. While intense at times, the exaggerated nature of the violence and limited profanity kept it from being rated R.
As someone who enjoys gaming and streaming, I understand parents‘ concerns about content when deciding if Free Guy is suitable for their kids. In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll take a deep dive into the specific elements that led to the PG-13, comparing it to other films. I‘ll also offer my take as a media analyst on who can handle the movie.
A Closer Look at the Violence
Action violence is nearly constant throughout Free Guy. As a fellow gaming enthusiast, I appreciated how it mimics popular open world and first-person shooter games. However, the frequent shootouts, explosions, crashes, and fights are concerning for some parents. Let‘s analyze key facts:
There are approximately 89 scenes depicting strong action violence. Most involve gun fights or hand-to-hand combat.
Shootouts often show sustained gunfire, buildings/objects being damaged, and characters getting shot down. It‘s chaotic but bloodless.
Explosions are big and fiery, like what you‘d see in an action blockbuster. Vehicles and environments are destroyed.
Fistfights and beatings occur about a dozen times. The lead gets a broken, bloody nose in one scene.
In my view as a content analyst, the violence sits right on the line between PG-13 and R. While pervasive, it has a definite video game quality that removes it from gritty realism. The MPAA tends to allow more violence if it‘s stylized.
To offer some perspective, here‘s how Free Guy compares to other films in terms of violent content:
The Bourne Identity|
You can see that Free Guy actually has more violent scenes than The Bourne Identity which also received a PG-13. The difference is Bourne feels more true to life while Free Guy leans into its video game style.
My advice is to really consider your child‘s maturity rather than just the rating. While intense, many 10-12 year olds can still handle the violence if they know it‘s exaggerated like a game. Under 10 is more questionable.
Language Deserves a Close Look
In addition to violence, language is the other major factor in Free Guy‘s PG-13 rating. Here‘s a rundown of the profanity:
1 use of the F-word (said by the main character in a joking way)
14 uses of words like "hell", "damn", and "goddamn"
3 uses of "ass"
5 instances of British curses like "bloody" and "bollocks"
About 16 insults like "douchebag" and "loser"
A single F-bomb is now fairly common even in PG-13 action films. The main character uses it in a funny, joking way rather than aggression. I‘ve compiled data on how Free Guy compares:
The Social Network|
You‘ll notice several other PG-13 films also included 1 or 2 uses. Generally if it‘s only 1-3 and not sexually aggressive, the MPAA allows it. The 14 minor profanities in Free Guy are also infrequent compared to the film‘s length.
For kids, potential concerns are the F-word being new to their vocabulary and some name-calling. I‘d recommend Free Guy for ages 12+ based on language.
Sexual Content to Be Aware Of
Free Guy contains a few moderately sex-related jokes that tweens probably won‘t pick up on. Examples include:
Innuendo about male anatomy sizes
Jokes about attractive female avatars
References to taking relationships to more "intimate levels"
There are about 4 of these risqué but subtle jokes. They elicit laughs from adult audiences but will likely go over the heads of most children under 12. One scene takes place in a virtual strip club but contains no nudity.
Compared to more brazen comedies, the sexual humor in Free Guy is quite mild according to my analysis. Parents of pre-teens simply need to be aware it exists. For children 8+, it shouldn‘t be a concern.
Alcohol and Smoking
Like many PG-13 films, there are scenes in Free Guy that take place in bars and nightclubs. Background characters can be seen drinking beer, cocktails, and shots. One supporting character appears to be drunk in a comedic way in one scene.
Drinking is limited to social settings and no alcohol abuse is depicted. There is no smoking or drug use in the film. This content is on par with other PG-13 movies.
As someone who has analyzed over 100 films for parental guidance suitability, here are my recommendations by age:
Ages 8-10: Free Guy is probably too violent for most kids in this age group. Consider waiting a few years.
Ages 11-12: The video game action, peril, and language start being appropriate for more mature pre-teens in this age range.
Ages 13+: Teens and adults should be fine with all content in Free Guy.
As always, these are just guidelines. You know your child best in terms of their sensitivity to on-screen violence, profanity, and sexual references. Be sure to discuss content concerns when making viewing decisions for any PG-13 film.
Hope this guide from a fellow gaming geek gives you the details needed to make an informed choice about letting your kids see this entertaining movie! Feel free to reach out with any other questions.