Review: Tag

Having the precise amount of physical comedy, explicit jokes, and witty one-liners can make satisfying comedy. Tag, a comedy based on a true story, mixes those elements with some truth and a lot of ridiculous antics to create a fun time at the theater .

Tag’s premise is as simple as it is insane – a group of friends play an intense game of tag every year during the month of May. For thirty years, Jerry (Jeremy Renner) has never been tagged. When Hoagie (Ed Helms) announces Jerry is retiring after his wedding, the rest of the guys put together elaborate plans to tag Jerry before he can retire – all this is happening the weekend of Jerry’s wedding.

The idea of a group of grown men getting together to play tag every year sounds bizarre, however it’s the perfect backdrop for a comedy with Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, Jon Hamm (who needs to be in more comedies), and Hannibal Buress. The actors each have their unique brand of comedy and they play off each other well. Each actors is given a moment to shine and flex their comedic muscles without overshadowing the other.

Renner is  perfect as Jerry, he’s easily the most elusive and creative of the Tag group. The film turns him into a literal superhero. He jumps out of windows, evades people like he has superpowers, and even disappears like a ninja at one point. His supernatural tag skills are believable because audiences have seen Renner in Marvel movies over the past few years.

The men are fine, but Isla Fisher as Anna is the most interesting character in the film. She’s the most intense out of the group and she’s not technically in the tag group. She’s Hoagie’s wife so that gives her a vested interest in seeing Jerry tagged. At times, her approach is way too aggressive which leads to some of the funnier moments. Isla is like a shot of Red Bull every time she shows up. She brings so much energy amusement to every scene.

The other MVP is Leslie Bibb as Jerry’s fiancée Susan. Her character is so incredibly unlikable during the third act and Susan does an unbelievable job selling it. Susan’s smug demeanor is perfect for the guys to bounce jokes off each other as they talk about her antics.

Funnier than the jokes are the situations the guys try to tag Jerry along with the group’s efforts to get information from people who know Jerry. Not to mention Chilli’s constant paranoia is one of the better running gags; he thinks everyone is in on it.

For a movie packed with hilarious bits, the best being Hoagie in disguises, it has a deeper meaning about friendship.  The game of tag isn’t about a childhood game but about bringing these men together every year and staying connected. It doesn’t quite stick the landing during the last 10 minutes, but I admire the attempt to deliver a heartwarming message.

Tag continues the run of fun comedies in 2018 (Date Night, Blockers). The film is packed with jokes but none of them will be memorable a few weeks after seeing the film. The story is led by men, but Isla Fisher is the unstoppable force in this film. If there’s one reason to see this movie, it’s for her.

Grade: B