Tag (2018) – Film Review
We’re in the throes of probably the best summer since World Cup 2006 in terms of both weather and the sporting achievements of the England team and cinemas are understandably keeping their powder dry until next week when football takes a brief break prior to the return of the Premier League – this week it was the turn of Tag to try and persuade people to try their local air conditioned multiplex.
Tag is based on a true story of a group of childhood friends who kept in touch with each other by playing tag for a month each year well into middle age.
The stunts they pull in order to tag each other have become epic over time as well as a set of rules that preclude the participation of women, including the exceptionally keen wife of one of the protagonists – played by Isla Fisher – who takes the game far too seriously.
In this fictionalised version of the Wall Street Journal story, five diverse friends from Washington State are moved to act by the imminent retirement of Jerry, the only untagged – undefeated – man amongst them who is about to get married and subsequently retire from the game.
They have to use this final opportunity to tag Jerry by hook or by crook and there follows a serious of escalating set pieces as the friends try to tag their friend.
Tag has action but it’s lacking a warm hearted feeling until the end
Played by action star Jeremy Renner (Avengers Assemble), Jerry is like a ninja in his tackling of the hapless friends’ attempts to tag him by his school buddies who comprise men played by Jon Hamm, Hannibal Buress, Jake Johnson, and Ed Helms in an attempt to land a Hangover style hit.
The guys are all well drawn and but some of their actions are a little over the top for childhood friends, and despite trying to make Tag seem more inclusive, the female characters seem peripheral to the action, with reporter Rebecca, who initially uncovers the story as a Wall Street Journal reporter, a very forgettable presence.
The aforementioned Isla Fisher is incongruously intense while Rashida Jones seems puzzled as to why she’s in the film as an old love interest to a couple of the guys in a sub plot – one of several scenes that don’t really land.
Most worryingly, for a set of lifelong friends, some of the storylines sail a bit close to the wind in terms of some of the plot.
The final few scenes see the stakes raised up a notch or two but by then it might have lost a few audience members with the occasionally crass gags that feel out of place by the time we reach the finale.
Tag is enjoyable while it lasts, but won’t stay in the memory very long. If you’re looking for an amusing ensemble comedy Game Night did it better.
Tag (15; strong language, sex references, drug misuse; 100 minutes)
Director(s): Jeff Tomsic
Cast Includes: Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, Annabelle Wallis, Hannibal Buress, Isla Fisher, Rashida Jones, Leslie Bibb, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner
Summary: TAG is a US comedy about a group of friends who have been playing the same game of tag for 30 years.
Rating: *** (Tag could have been a top comedy but couldn’t decide which way ‘it’ was meant to go)