Seriously, they’ll make a movie about anything these days, including a game of Tag.
The story looks like it’s about a group of friends who get together periodically to continue their same game of Tag that they’ve been playing for the last thirty years.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Jon Hamm (BEIRUT , BABY DRIVER , KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES , MINIONS , and the upcoming BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE ), Jake Johnson (THE MUMMY , MIKE AND DAVE , JURASSIC WORLD , and the upcoming SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE ), Jeremy Renner (WIND RIVER , ARRIVAL , MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION , and upcoming films ARCTIC JUSTICE  and Avengers 4 ), Ed Helms (CHAPPAQUIDDICK , I DO… UNTIL I DON’T , and VACATION ), and Hannibal Buress (BLOCKERS , SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING , NEIGHBORS 2 , DADDY’S HOME , and the upcoming THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2 ). In support, we have Isla Fisher (KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES, and the upcoming THE BEACH BUM ), Rashida Jones (INSIDE OUT , and the upcoming KLAUS ), Leslie Bibb (TO THE BONE ), and Annabelle Wallis (ANNABELLE: CREATION , BROTHERS GRIMSBY , and the upcoming BOSS LEVEL ).
Now for the crew. Directing, we have Jeff Tomisic, known for stuff I’ve never seen or heard of. Co-writing the script, we have Rob McKittrick and Mark Steilen, both known for stuff that I’ve never seen or heard of. Composing the score is Germaine Franco, known for stuff I’ve never seen or heard of. The cinematographers are Larry Blanford (ALMOST CHRISTMAS , RIDE ALONG , and the upcoming SHAFT ) and Steven Capitano Calitri (stuff I’ve never seen or heard of). Finally, the editor is Josh Crockett, known for stuff I’ve never seen or heard of.
Overall, I want this to be funny, I really do. I like the cast, but a lot of them haven’t had the best roles in film. So… hoping for something fun and funny, but it’s probably going to be stupid. Here’s hoping that I’m wrong.
This is my honest opinion of: TAG
Best friends Hoggie (Ed Helms), Bob (Jon Hamm), Chilli (Jake Johnson), Sable (Hannibal Buress), and Jerry (Jeremy Renner) have been playing the same game of Tag for thirty years. Turns out, Jerry is getting married and is going to retire from the game forever. He has also never been tagged, having a reputation for taking the game to a whole new level. But the gang is desperate to make his final year of having not been tagged, no matter what it takes.
Thank God, it’s hilarious. I was really afraid that I wouldn’t be, but it’s one of the funnier movies of the year.
There are two things I look for in my comedies, and that’s well-thought out humor, or at the very least taking advantage of the humor that is gift-wrapped for you, and heart, which comes from well-written characters, good chemistry that makes their relationships seem genuine. And you know what? That’s exactly what I got. The comedy is very slap-stick and is awesome. One of my favorite moments is pretty early on when Hoagie has Bob cornered in his own conference room and decides that this only way out is to throw a chair through his glass wall. I especially love his line right before he throws it, “This is really happening,” like he knows how ridiculous his action is about to be. But he throws it, bounces right off the wall, nary a scratch on the glass, and knocks him against his head. Couldn’t stop laughing.
One of the surprise stand-out characters in this movie is arguably my favorite character in this movie, and that’s Isla Fisher as Anna, Hoagie’s wife. Fisher kills me in this movie as the one person who probably takes this game just as seriously as Jerry does. If Chilli barrels through Anna causing her to bleed out her nose, she doesn’t fucking care, and she’s screaming like a military commander in the middle of an intense battle scene out to Hoagie where Chilli is going to be. She’s so intense and menacing, but I absolutely adored her. Let’s just say there’s a threat of a waterboarding scene that the guys are treating like a bluff, but Anna wants to take it that far and it takes all the guys to hold her back from making this situation any more worse than it is. With that in mind, I wish that she was part of the game, as I think she would have easily been able to tag Jerry with how aggressively competitive she gets.
Now, this isn’t to say that every joke finds its mark. Absolutely not. Like, seeing Buress’ bare ass and that he’s wearing a thong, I really didn’t need to see that. But for the most part, that’s not a huge issue as it’s not a majority of the humor. The humor comes from how over-the-top these guys get from trying to get away from each other and Renner certainly steals the show in that department, as well as a few funny lines.
With all the praise I have, I do have a few problems with the movie.
Sadly, I wanted to like Wallis in this movie, but Rebecca is a pretty forgettable character compared to the rest of the cast and barely contributes to the story at all. Yes, she’s the avatar to how this story becomes a story in the paper, or some such shit, but she almost has no personality to match the likes of the other cast members.
I do think a few jokes were uncharacteristically unlikable. One such is when Cheryl (Rashida Jones) comes into the story, Chilli starts chatting her up, and she reveals that her husband died. Chilli becomes a little too obviously happy with this news and Cheryl takes it way too well. I get it, he (and Bob) has been crushing on this girl since they were kids and has kind of been romantically linked to him before. But that’s not cool to be happy about the death of a loved one and see it as an opening to make a move.
And then there’s my biggest issue with the story: Jerry. Time for some elaborating, I imagine. The biggest conflict of the story is that Jerry has never been tagged and that everyone’s hoping to end that streak. We understand throughout the story that he takes the game to a whole other level to avoid being tagged.
But here’s the thing, there’s two poignant lines in the movie. The first is that there’s an addressed issue that Hoagie, Bob, Chilli, and Sable see each other rather frequently, Jerry may not be their best friend as they don’t see him that often. This wraps up nicely in the end when Hoagie says, “The point isn’t to get away from each other, it’s having a reason to stay in each other’s lives.” The implication being that Jerry taking the game too far is what alienates him from the group. This is definitely acknowledged when Jerry has his fiancé Susan (Leslie Bibb) lie about both being pregnant and having a miscarriage all in order to avoid being tagged. The guys get rightfully upset when they learn about this, but it’s not handled properly, I think. The guys debate the ethics of Jerry’s lie, but instead of debating whether or not it’s worth keeping him around if he’s going to do something that shitty, they debate whether or not it’s worth screwing over his wedding. I feel like this should have been a bigger deal and had bigger repercussions for Jerry, and developed that deeper understanding of what it means to be “it”. Again, he has that realization, but not due to the outrage of his friends. The pieces were in place, the emotions were there and pushed, but not as far as it could have and should have gone.
Also, if Susan is as on board with Jerry’s antics, how much of the set up is a lie? Like, if she’s just as keen on keeping Jerry’s record of not being tagged, why is there an “amnesty” contract? Why weren’t the guys invited to the wedding? You could argue that they knew this wouldn’t stop the guys from coming anyway, and the amnesty was all part of Jerry’s elaborate ruse, but then one has to ask why the guys weren’t legitimately asked to be best men. It kind of makes it confusing where the smoke and mirrors end and the truth begins.
Ultimately, I really like this movie. Yes, there’s some issues that I have, but this movie is all about friendship. The characters are likable, the humor is great, and the story is surprisingly touching. Not gonna lie, I wouldn’t mind a sequel for these characters and really see Anna and Jerry go toe to toe in an over-the-top situation. In short, I had a ton of fun with this. So as a recommendation, I highly endorse this flick. It’s funny, ridiculous, great characters, lots of heart, one of the best comedies of the year. I’m not kidding.
My honest rating for TAG: a strong 4/5
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