Thursday, June 14, 2018

Tag: Movie Review

Exaggerated nonsense leaving the comedy and characters behind.

A group of grown men playing a game. Tag simultaneously believes that is so far-fetched the audience must be repeatedly told it’s based on a true story, convinced that nobody could believe it otherwise, and yet on the other hand, also felt the true story is too tame and then exaggerates it to the extreme. The movie jumps right into the game of tag: getting a job as a janitor for fun, destroying company property, trespassing, destroying personal property, breaking doctor-patient confidentiality, all in the first ten minutes. 2018

Directed by: Jeff Tomsic

Screenplay by: Rob McKittrick, Mark Steilen

Starring: Ed Helms, Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson, and Hannibal Buress.

Very little time is spent introducing the five friends. An argument could be made that with a cast including Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson, Hannibal Buress and Jeremy Renner that they are talented enough to not spend time connecting their characters to the audience and the time is better spent getting on with the comedic action. But in reality, the very crucial element – what makes these characters human – is missing. Considering how insane the action becomes, a touch of humanity from the beginning was needed.

Every May the five friends play tag, flying across the country, upping the ante in how far they will go to sneak up on their friends just to make them “it”. Jerry (Renner) has never been tagged, ever, and now he’s getting married and leaving the game after his wedding. Hoagie (Helms) brings in the other three to join forces to finally get Jerry.

A reporter ends up in the middle of the first tag of the season and so decides this group of grown men playing a game is the story she must tell. This is an example of the movie insisting it’s a true story and yet exaggerates it to the point it’s not plausible. It is based on a true story (the real photos at the end explain it quite efficiently) but it didn’t happen like this at all. This is a Hollywood movie version of an otherwise simply amusing human story. The lack of plausibility really hurts the comedy and there’s really nothing else.

Most of the guys have weird names, obviously nicknames, but they never bothered explaining where they came from. Leslie Bibb plays Jerry’s fiancĂ©e, a high-strung bride, who takes the “high-strung” part to screechingly-annoying highs. Meanwhile Renner’s Jerry performs implausibly athletic feats that defy gravity and most human abilities. They both collide in a church scene that just went too far.

By the end, Tag wanted to show the human side of the characters, but it was too little too late. The entire movie was extreme stunts that went past the line of reasonable, making it difficult to laugh at the psychopathic characters. Jon Hamm was the best at balancing the exaggerated humour and the human side of the story, but it was not enough to save the movie.