7 & 7 Review: Tag (2018)
Directed by Jeff Tomsic
Screenplay by Rob McKittrick and Mark Steilen
Starring : Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, Annabelle Wallis, Hannibal Buress, Isla Fisher, Rashida Jones, Jon Hamm, Leslie Bibb and Jeremy Renner
Loosely based on a true story, “Tag” tells the story of 5 childhood friends who have for over 30 years continuously played a game of tag with each other. But with one of their friends threatening retirement undefeated, the gang goes intense for one-last epic game over a hectic wedding weekend.
- Originality – While it is based on a true story, the movie deserves points for being something different than the norm. Though that comes with both pros and cons such as the fact that the movie’s plot actually doesn’t have a traditional arc. Like the friends themselves playing tag takes a backseat to them trying to tag a single one of their friends, which does make the movie a bit lopsided at times and passes on some possibly great laughs.
- The Friendships – The real backbone of the movie though is the enduring friendship between the 5 friends though at times I’m not entirely sure what the movie wants us to make of it. At times, it feels like there may be underlying problems with the friendships that are bubbling to the surface and then… nothing. It happens with several of the dynamics even with some big reveals. But their friendship remains.
- Characters – Even with the film’s problems the friends do hold it altogether. Mostly due to the strength of the actors playing them. Hannibal Buress’ Sable is a standout character who just has the perfect dry delivery to make sure that all of his lines land perfectly. Behind him is Isla Fisher’s Anna, who is just intense and heartfelt enough to balance the boys out. She has some of the best scenes in the movie especially her grudge with the local bartender. If there’s a weak spot among the cast, it would have to be Jake Johnson who seems to just be playing well any other Jake Johnson character.
- Humor – The movie offers some genuinely funny laughs and great physical comedy at times. Like I mentioned above, Anna’s running gag with the bartender is one of the movie’s big laughs for me. There’s also some early movie shenanigans with the game of tag before we get into the groove of the movie. That said, the movie does feel a bit lopsided near the end with some giant weighty revelations and sequences that leave you more uncomfortable than anything and no real humorous pay-off. Again, it makes for an uneven movie when it doesn’t know what to do with the bigger moments.
- Action/Setpieces – For a comedy there are quite a few big setpieces and for the most part they all land for me. Early on in the movie, there are some great sequences as the friends try to tag either including a humorous encounter inside of an office. Then as the movie progresses and Jeremy Renner’s character is introduced, we are given a bit more intense action sequences including a fight inside of a church and an AA meeting. The best one though however has to be the rehearsal dinner tag game.
- The Drama – This has been thrown out there throughout the review, but the movie really has a tough time knowing when to get serious and how serious to get. It throws in these big moments that should have the audience questioning just how insane this game is. Should we be cheering for these friends or not? Are they really friends or does this game help shelter a lot of hidden problems? All good questions that the movie doesn’t seem interested in answering or giving closure to.
- The Power of Friendship – There’s a quote repeated throughout the movie, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing,” and it really does stick with me on a personal level. The movie just made me think that it was sweet that the guys found a way to stay connected and in each other lives even if it’s just a month every year. You realize the importance of that as you grow older and friends move away.
Review 5 (Out of 7) – While the movie feels completely unbalanced at times with some of its elements, the humor and characters really do hold it together enough to make it a movie worth seeing. Maybe not in theaters, but check it out.