I’m currently writing this review from sunny Florida, so you’d expect the review for bro-comedy Tag to be exceptionally positive and upbeat.
However, it won’t be. It turns out that “sunny Florida” was false advertising, and thanks to the frequent thunderstorms, I now envy how dry Jack and Rose were. You can, then, expect me to be pissed off with everything. Including bro-comedy Tag.
Based on the true story, Tag sees a group of five friends play a highly competitive annual game of Monopoly… Of course it’s not a Monopoly; they play Tag, you goon. Throughout the game, they risk their jobs and even their lives in an attempt to shout “you’re it”, in the game they’ve been playing since first grade. (Which doesn’t seem that impressive – I’ve been playing with myself for years…)
I love a comedy movie about a subject matter that really shouldn’t work – In Bruges is one of my favourite movies and Game Night made me drop my Pot Moodle in shock with how good it was. And nothing comes between me and my cheap, rubbery noodle meals. So I went in to Tag optimistic. It boasted an incredible cast including The Hangover’s Ed Helms, who plays The Hangover’s Ed Helms, as well as Jon Hamm and Jeremy Renner. The cast are all very likeable and it’s clear the chemistry between them is more than just on-screen acting. However, each of the characters are such linear, one-joke stereotypes. Jake Johnson is a confused stoner, and Jon Hamm is a suave business exec. Throw in an anal nerd and you’ve got a very paint-by-numbers character roster. (Oh, wait. Ed Helms does play an anal nerd? Well, there you go.)
Jeremy Renner, the main target for the gang’s tag was a pleasant surprise for me. I recently saw the cast’s Carpool Karaoke and Jeremy was so grating, I actually hoped for a televised car crash. He was so cocksure and arrogant. But his smarmy I-play-the-worst-Avenger confidence worked so well in Tag. It made his character funnier and his introduction to the movie, which sees him meticulously take down all of his friends in a slow-motion action montage is a highlight of the entire film.
With such a strong male cast, it was a disappointment to see the female ensemble being used as, essentially, props. Jon Hamm was followed by a reporter, played by Annabelle Wallis, for literally zero reason. I have been mapping any possible conclusion as to why she was included in Tag, on the walls like a serial killer, to no avail. I wasted so much red string in doing so. Rashida Jones also made a brief appearance, but was not given any comedic lines, which is a shock seeing as she rose to fame in the exceptionally funny Parks and Recreation. The only female who seemed to shine was Isla Fisher, who played an intense, screaming wife to Ed Helms. Her character wasn’t smartly written or fresh; I was just relieved not to see her as another female in the movie resorted to nodding and agreeing with all of the men.
The comedy was on-point throughout. A lot of the laughs came from the slapstick nature of the chase; even during Jeremy Renner’s Sherlock Holmes-style takedown of the rest of the cast, every blow was funny. I hate to say it, but I giggled at Jeremy repeatedly punching Ed Helms in the bum. I actually felt dirty saying that. It’s not just silly toilet humour, however. The standout, funniest moment comes from a lengthy scene whereby one character fakes a miscarriage. The final scene, however, takes the whole tone of Tag into a different direction, where one character confesses their dying. This totally threw me, and ruined all of the laughs the movie made. You cannot go from an hour worth of Jackass-worthy gross out humour, and then try to claw at tears. YOU LITERALLY JUST JOKED ABOUT MISCARRIAGES, GUYS. READ THE ROOM.
Tag isn’t as good as the likes of recent Blockers or Game Night, but it is funny. It’s ruined by an attempt for sentiment, but it’s an enjoyable watch. And even if you don’t think so, Tag deserves several stars for the simple fact that – rumour has it – Jeremy Renner’s arms were CGI, due to him breaking them during filming. I know, right?!