There is a surprising drought of good comedies right now, so Tag comes along at just the right time. It’s a bit of a B-list cast but the premise sounded unique, so let’s give it a shot.
We meet a group of friends who have been playing a game of tag for many years together, coming together each May to play an intense game, dressing up and sneaking into each others’ homes, all just to tag the others. However, Jerry (Jeremy Renner) has never been tagged, having a perfect record. So when Hogan (Ed Helms) learns that Jerry is getting married, he brings together the whole group to head to the wedding and try to tag him. The other guys consist of Jake Johnson, Hannibal Buress, and Jon Hamm. We also have Isla Fisher as Hogan’s feisty and overenthusiastic wife, Leslie Bibb as Jerry’s bride-to-be, and Rashida Jones as an old flame that causes a rift between the guys.
Now, this is a weird compliment to start with, but this movie isn’t the crude comedy I was expecting. Yes, it definitely earns the R rating with plenty of crude humor, but it’s not all that funny, instead giving us some interesting characters and a deeper journey than I expected. It reminds me most recently of Game Night, where it layers the comedy onto other genres in unique ways. Here, it meshes comedy with action.
This game of tag is serious, so when Jeremy Renner enters the movie, it becomes something entirely unique. We have some incredible fight choreography, overlaid with inner monologues and some sweet slow motion. Renner is the real star of the show and dominates every scene he’s in. Their intense devotion to this game and ridiculous antics to try to get a tag is what draws the most laughter, as these guys are brutally beaten up and sometimes even hospitalized for the game.
I also appreciated Isla Fisher here, revisiting a type of role that made her famous from Wedding Crashers. She goes wild in some of these scenes and provides some of the biggest laughs.
While it’s not as funny as I thought, I still had a great time on this journey, getting something I didn’t even know that I wanted. There are some great moments about friendship, especially about growing older and growing up, that I found very poignant.
While Renner is great, the other guys are all fine. In the intro I said it was relatively B-list and I stand by that. Ed Helms can’t really carry a film, Jon Hamm is still trying to make a name for himself in comedy, Hannibal Buress isn’t quite on people’s radar, and Jake Johnson is struggling to make the leap from television and his success on New Girl.
So in our time before Renner enters the picture, the movie struggles to get its footing and relies a little too heavily on these guys.
And while some of you may find the game of tag interesting, if you’re looking for a pure comedy, you may find this movie lackluster.
Don’t go into Tag expecting something hilarious. You’ll laugh, but mostly because of the ridiculousness of this story. It has some incredible action sequences unlike anything else out there and Jeremy Renner really gets to shine, though his cool demeanor is contrasted nicely against Isla Fisher who lets loose here. The cast around them is a little underwhelming. It’s a fun ride though and offers something unique, if this sounds like your cup of tea.