19 June 2018 | Jared_Andrews
Tag is Flawed but still Fun
If you seek a fun and funny summer movie, look no further than Tag. Well, as long as you're okay with a movie that possesses zero lasting impact, little substance, and moral, umm, compromises.
Five male friends have been playing the same game of tag for over 30 years, even as they have each moved on to different cities and their adult lives. Each month of May the game resumes and the taggers take great lengths to avoid being "it."
Despite the best efforts of the other four, Jerry (Jeremy Renner) has never been tagged. Not once. In 30 years.
Hoagie (Ed Helms) informs the guys that Jerry is retiring from the game, so this must be the year that they finally tag him. To get things started, Hoagie sets off on one of the best "getting the gang together" movie sequences I've seen in several years.
Of course, Jerry hasn't remained untagged all these years for no reason. When approached, he unveils his heightened senses and powers of observation via internal monologues that the film captures surprisingly well.
Renner's escape sequences truly make him look like a superhero. Actually, his character in this movie is more impressive than his Hawkeye character in Avengers.
This movie is jampacked with action, much of it intentionally over-the-top. The taggers are intense, even diabolical.
Taking this too seriously could have been disastrous, but fortunately the film is self-aware. It never passes up an opportunity to poke fun at itself. Each chase scene makes the taggers appear both heroic and appropriately ridiculous.
In another indication of the film's self-awareness, the filmmakers make clear that the game is more than a game. Unfortunately, they deliver this message in a tactless way. A character literally utters the words, "It's not just about playing tag. The game keeps us together." The line is a bit too blunt, but it's understandable. Subtlety isn't exactly this movie's strong suit.
The film also understands when to deliver a dose of comic relief as things become too intense. Hannibal Buress does most of the heavy lifting in that department.
Despite the movie's frenetic action and breezy pacing, it drags. Even a runtime of an hour and 40 minutes felt too long.
Overall, Tag is inconsistent. It has its funny and tender moments but nothing that will stick with viewers for long. To its credit, the cast and gags make for a fleeting night of fun. For some, that may be enough.