The 'Not-So-Critical' Critic:
on TAG (2018, 100 minutes, R)
The Quick of It -
Reviewing movies can have some benefits. It lets you risk choosing those questionable films… hoping for some possible renewed life in a tired genre. Like, say… Comedy.
Slap me in the balls! This was not a refreshing, ice-chilled drink-of-a-film, refreshing to the comedic palate. I could only have wished to choke on the ice cubes to end the dull pain from the brain freeze.
Based slightly on a group of friend’s tag game, one that has lasted years, TAG does nothing beyond what you would expect. In fact, you will find all the horrible cliched roles spouting drab lines. As it goes, the story centers around five friends who took the game of tag too serious. Every May, for the full month, the last tagged friend will hunt down one of the others, using elaborate ruses to get close for the tag, then they join forces to continue on to the next. What makes this year’s month of tag different is that Jerry (Jeremy Renner), the only one of the crew to have never been tagged, is getting married and says this is his last year.
Starring a strong cast, Ed Helms (Hogan) and Isla Fisher (Anna) lead the charge as a committed couple. ‘Committed’ being the key term. They seemed to have the most fun. Then along the way, you get Jon Hamm (Bob), Lil Rel Howery (Reggie), and Jake Johnson (‘Chilli’). They are shadowed by a journalist for the Wall Street Journal, Rebecca, played by Annabelle Wallis (THE MUMMY, ANNABELLE). It was this original article the movie is based on.
To break it down to its simplest parts:
Ed – the quirky friend needing redemption.
Jon – the playboy friend.
Lil Rel – yes, the ‘token’ black friend – typing this makes me shake my head in this age of cinema.
Jake – the stoner friend.
Annabelle – the naive on-looker to tell the story through.
The collection of scenes and one-liners was forced, leaving you wondering about the lost opportunities. Director Jeff Tomsic (nothing stands out as notable to distinguish his career) should have smelled something flat and unappealing with this script. Yes, the camaraderie could have been genuine if the actors cared in the slightest. I felt no sense of real friendship, just mucked-up moments put together to fill the time.
Skip this one… as I know you probably already had. I’m sure you didn’t need these words to verify what you already knew. Only spoiled, lumpy milk here.