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Review: TAG (2018)

TAG, the surprise comedy film starring an ensemble cast of Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, Jon Hamm, Hannibal Buress and Jeremy Renner was released and I could not wait to see it. The premise sees a group of friends unite to continue their 30 year old ritual of a month long game of Tag and to get their imminently retired friend Jerry in an attempt to break his 30 year long streak of not being tagged. Accompanied by a Wall Street Journal reporter documenting the whole event, the group crosses both legal and social barriers in an attempt to tag Jerry.

This film is non-stop fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. While it isn’t the deepest of stories, it’s hard not to get caught up in the frenzy and fun, and I challenge anyone to not laugh at least once during this film. Based on a true story, non-stop antics abound and within the first 10 minutes we are already straight into the game.

The performances were excellent all round, from Jeremy Renner’s calculating, methodical Jerry to Hannibal Buress’ psychologically challenged Sable, everybody acted well, and it was clear that they were enjoying their parts and characters. Ed Helms was a highlight, with his character serving as the main protagonist. One character who I did not find all that interesting was Jake Johnson’s Chilli, whose entire character is that he smokes weed and that for some reason is funny.

One of the reasons I think the film works so well is that the characters and situations feel fictional and impossible yet they aren’t. The fact that things like this can be done by anyone is captivating, and also really makes you wanna play Tag with your friends. At its core the film is about friendship, and how easily close friends can drift from one another’s lives. The message of “you don’t stop playing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop playing” is reiterated several times, but is a sentiment that I think is true. The footage of the real people who inspired this film that plays over the credits is a testament to this, as age has not slowed them down and even in their old age they continue to be friends. The film also takes a dark turn, with Jerry’s imminent retirement being false, as Ed Helms’ Hogan wanted to reunite his friends before he died of cancer. It is quite sad to know that he was going to die, yet it also is touching that all he wanted was his friends around him before he died.

The film also is packed full of ruses and ploys the characters use to Tag one another, some of which are in the extreme end of things. One such example is when Leslie Bibb’s character fakes both a pregnancy and subsequent miscarriage in order to rescue Renner’s character from being tagged. Despite this, there are several negatives that must be mentioned. As I stated previously, Jake Johnson’s character is the most shallow and one note character to exist since Mark Wahlberg was cast in Transformers. Leslie Bibb’s character is also incredibly grating and irritating, and every time she was on screen I groaned at her performance and cadence. Rashida Jones is also in this, although her involvement turns out to be rather pointless.

Verdict: Overall, I would give Tag a 7 our of 10 for being a fun, energetic film with a good message. While it may not be the most philosophical of films, I think anyone can enjoy it


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