Monday, June 18, 2018

[Review] Tag

This film tells the true, inspirational story of... grown men playing tag? Yes, the bro-com Tag springs forward into a real-life tale about a group of friends that have kept a game of tag going for 30(!) years -- mostly to stay in touch. Every month of May, they sneak up on each other at unexpected times, concoct elaborate schemes and disguises, and sometimes even endure injuries in the process.

Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson, and Hannibal Buress are cast as the group of friends here, and the plot sees them team up to finally get their "untouchable" buddy Jerry (Jeremy Renner, hilarious) -- who has never been tagged (yes, he has a perfect record) -- before he retires from the game. As you can guess, some crazy, desperate, extreme, and outrageous shenanigans ensue.

The story that Tag is based on honestly pretty amazing -- it's quirky, delightfully innocent, heart-warming, and nostalgic all at once. And while this film's portrayal of the story is a mildly fun romp that has its moments, it doesn't seem to do its source material justice (can we get a documentary?). The script is a bit middle-of-the-road -- it contains a handful of funny lines, but an even bigger handful of ones that just don't connect. The film is best when it embraces its slapstick comedy (after all, tag is a physical game). Folks crash through windows and fall down stairs just to avoid being 'It.' The riotous setpieces include a bumpy high-speed golfcart chase, a strange trap-filled sequence in a dark forest, and a wild confrontation during an AA meeting that turns into a Matrix-style battle with its slow-motion sprints and tossed donuts. It's easily the best scene in the film, aside from the one where of the guy's moms makes them Pizza Rolls. However, the laughs here never reach the heights of Tag's fellow competition comedies Game Night and Blockers from earlier this year.

The cast here is enjoyable, though. Jon Hamm lets loose in a fairly care-free role and still looks dapper and charismatic while doing it. The other two MVPs are Hannibal Buress -- who has some of the best line deliveries here, and then Isla Fisher -- who plays one of the guy's intense wives that takes the game way too seriously and often steals the show because of it.

In the end, Tag stays true to the essence of its beginnings. It's not just about the game, it's about friendship. As Ed Helms' character says "This game has given us a reason to stay in each other's lives." That's it.

( 6.5/10 )

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