Directed by: Jeff Tomsic
Written by: Rob McKittrick, Mark Steilen
Starring: Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, Hannibal Buress, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Annabelle Wallis, Isla Fisher
Runtime: 100 min
For one month every year, five highly competitive friends hit the ground running in a no-holds-barred game of tag they've been playing since the first grade - risking their necks, their jobs, and their, relationships to take each other down with the battle cry "You're It!"
This year, the game coincides with the wedding of their only undefeated player, which should finally make him an easy target. But he knows they're coming... and he's ready. Based on a true story, Tag shows how far some guys will go to be the last man standing.
I love when movies don't take themselves seriously enough and own how dumb they are. Honestly, this kind of films are usually the ones where I laugh the most, whether at the high levels of stupidity or at the nonsensical plot. In a comedy, if the director is able to accept that the premise is not exactly clever and plays with that, then for me it is an immediate success.
Tag is not less not more than what I expected, which is precisely what I wished for. I already knew that the cast would be awesome, but they genuinely surprised me. The euphoric Ed Helms (Hoagie) is amazingly supported by some phenomenal performances from Jon Hamm (Bob Callahan), Jake Johnson (Chilli) and Hannibal Buress (Kevin Sable), even if Buress is a little below the others' level.
However, I can't describe how hilariously badass Jeremy Renner (Jerry Pierce) is. I laughed so damn much at every single scene with him. From the incredible stunts (he broke his right arm and his left wrist during the first days of filming and kept going!) to the tremendously funny facial expressions, he is fabulous! I always enjoy his performances, and I do think he is a bit of an underrated actor in Hollywood, but he surprised me once more with his comedic talent.
The girls are also very funny. Isla Fisher (Anna Malloy) and Annabelle Wallis (Rebecca Crosby) are the standouts, but I wished Jeff Tomsic used the talent of Rashida Jones (Cheryl Deakins) a bit more. However, Tomsic brilliantly directed the chasing scenes! They are extremely fun to watch, and the use of slow-motion is especially entertaining. Having Renner narrate what his character is thinking while escaping several attempts of a tag is surprisingly both impressive and amusing. It never gets annoying or excessive, I just can't get enough of it!
Even the screenplay is well-written. I mean, clearly, this is not an Oscar masterpiece. It has its generic plot points and cliche characters, besides some lazy exposition moments. However, the way it is written easily captivates the audience, and each character's script is pretty funny. Even if it is based on a true story, sometimes they cross the line between "yeah, I can accept that" and "nop, that's too stupid for my brain," due to the clear exaggeration of some scenes or to the way too dull dialogue.
Inside the comedy genre, Tag is just another flick. It is no mind-blowing journey through laughter and snorting. Nevertheless, inside the sub-genre of "silly comedies," it is definitely in the top half. The cast and the chasing scenes alone deserve that credit. That is actually one thing I wished they gave more time to, the actual game of "tag". There are loads of set pieces, but I still wanted more, since the subplots outside the game are not appealing at all.
Tomsic demonstrates an excellent balance of tone and pacing. Tonally, it switches well between comedy and drama, even if during the third act it loses a bit of that control. However, the fast pacing helps smooth those minor issues out and keeps the high rhythm going. The editing is also pretty great throughout the runtime.
Undoubtedly, Tag is a fantastic Sunday afternoon movie to watch with friends and family. It is hugely entertaining, and it has some awesome chasing scenes, which are sure to provide some hilarious moments. Wonderful performances from everyone, especially Ed Helms, Jon Hamm and Jeremy Renner. Ignore some of the extreme silliness, and be sure to have fun with it because that is exactly what everyone involved with this film definitely had.