It's Gonna Be May!! - Tag (REVIEW)
written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
When I saw Avengers Infinity War, one loose thread was where Hawkeye was... well ladies and gents I can tell you exactly where Hawkeye was, he was playing tag with Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, John Hamm, and Hannibal Buress.
Tag is the unbelievably true story of a group of friends who've been playing the same game of tag for 30 years. The rules are simple, tagging can only be done during the month of May, no tag-backs, and whoever is 'it' at the stroke of midnight on June 1st has the unpleasant honor of being 'it' for the rest of the year... that is until May comes around again.
This time around, the stakes are higher than ever when Hoagie (Helms) approaches Bob (Hamm) to let him know that Jerry (Jeremy Renner) plans to retire from the game after this year after officially never being 'it' for the entirety of the 30-year game. With the help of Hoagie's wife Anna (Isla Fisher) they gather the remainder of their gang Chilli (Johnson) and Sable (Buress) to finally tag Jerry during his wedding. True to his reputation as the “King of Tag”, Jerry is damn near god-like in his game from elaborate sets to intricate traps in the forest.
As I said before, it's based on a true story of a group of friends who also kept a several decades long game of tag going. The theme of growing up doesn't mean you have to give up your inner child stands front and center in both the true story and the one captured on film. It's an endearing story, in a world with serious political divisiveness, sometimes it helps to remember what it was like to be a kid. These guys did grow up, from careers to families, they clearly built lives for themselves as adults... all the while never forgetting that spark that playing tag provides.
Despite all the positives, the movie wasn't perfect. Clearly the story focused heavily on Hoagie and Jerry, unfortunately that means the lion's share of the ensemble cast get left behind and are rarely given much screentime. Jake Johnson and Hannibal Buress have some zingers and Isla Fisher stands out despite largely being under utilized, the biggest missed opportunity was John Hamm. Bob is a character that could have been there or not, it's a shame because John Hamm has the ability to really hit comedic strides.
The film's action sequences stand out as my favorite parts, playing up Jerry's superhuman ability to dodge pretty much anything coming his way. While the film's action sequences were pitch perfect, it feels like character development suffered for it. It was hard to look at the film's characters individually. What did work out for me was how the ensemble worked together. In their dysfunction, the cast functioned quite well as a unit.
At it's core, Tag isn't going to win any big awards. Maybe an MTV Movie Award or Teen Choice Award. Bit despite its shortcomings, Tag was a fun movie. I enjoyed my time with it and when the final credits rolled I walked away smiling. Tag reminds me that sometimes you don't have to take it so damn seriously, in life and especially in writing movie reviews. Vulgar at times, a bit unbalanced, but my inner kid fully enjoyed it.
Flawed but fun