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Tag movie review: A touching comedy

Tag
Jeremy Renner uses his Bourne skills to evade being it in Tag.

 

Tag is the funniest movie since Girls Trip. That’s not faint praise. There have been some great comedies like Life of the Party, Overboard and Blockers, but Tag captures the endearing friendship with “so wrong I can’t believe they went there” comedy.

Hogan (Ed Helms), Bob (Jon Hamm), Chilli (Jake Johnson), Sable (Hannibal Burress) and Jerry (Jeremy Renner) have been playing the same game of tag since they were kids. In adulthood they’ve designated May the month of tag, but Jerry has never been it.

Tag
This game of Tag gets really intense.

So the guys plan to go to Jerry’s wedding to Susan (Leslie Bibb) on May 31 to finally tag him. By now, Hogan’s wife Anna (Isla Fisher) is in, and Wall Street Journal writer Rebecca (Annabelle Wallis) caught the story while she was interviewing Bob. In real life, Russell Adams was the Journal reporter, so I can only hope that one day Annabelle Wallis plays me in a movie too.

Tag
Just saying, she really captures my essence.

Jeff Tomsic directs Tag like an action movie, as it should be. Jeremy Renner gets to use his Bourne Legacy moves again for incredible action, only this time the action is clear and you can see what’s happening.

All the action sequences make use of extreme slow motion, but what’s cool is Jerry has a logical countermove to anyone trying to tag him. It makes sense as action, even though it’s absurd and slapstick.

Tag
Close only counts in Horseshoes and hand grenades, not in Tag.

Tomsic also builds up to Jerry’s dramatic entrance. This is the reveal of an action hero, not just the foil of a comedy. Every set piece, Jerry proves even more clever than he was last time.

It’s also the most exciting movie of the summer. I’m sorry, who gets tagged has more personal stake than Thanos obliterating half the universe or Deadpool stopping Cable from whatever.

Tag
Never stop running

Screenwriters Rob McKittrick and Mark Steilen have created a group of characters that form an endearing group of friends. Some are distinct types who have a unique perspective on the proceedings, particularly stoner Chilli, the self-improvement minded Sable and overly aggressive Anna.

Bob and Hogan are a bit harder to pin down but it’s good they’re the more nuanced characters of the group. They can’t all be reactionary types, but Chilli and Sable get the best lines for committing to their bits.

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The Tag gang

Tag does address the adult concern of continuing this game at a wedding. These characters aren’t monsters, although they do go overboard for the sake of comedy.

It also asks us to consider what’s too far. A wedding, yes but a funeral, no. At a funeral it’s actually supportive to play the game for friendship and everyone appreciates the levity.

Tag
Peek-a-Boo may be the next feature film if Tag is a hit.

At its heart, Tag is about playing a game not to win but to be together. When it’s that heartfelt, it’s hilarious when it goes super dark. Like, laugh out loud oh no he didn’t funny.

Tag is in theaters Friday, June 15.

Fred Topel has been a journalist since 1999. Over the decades he’s written for About.com, Hollywood.com, CraveOnline, Rotten Tomatoes and Slashfilm. Fred brings Monsters and... read more


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