The Big Sick, Deadpool and Game Night - to name a few - are the primary reasons comedy is becoming a far more respected genre these days, telling stories through enriched characters and witty, razor sharp screenplay. However, in the light of a run of recent high concept movies at the box office the idea of extreme tag, whilst fairly creative, doesn't seem all that exciting. Inspired by a true story, Tag tells the story of a group of friends who have been playing the same game of tag for thirty years during the month of May - with elaborate tactics often requiring last minute travel across the country.
As a comedy, Tag fails spectacularly on every level. In almost desperate attempts to provoke laughter it is unnecessarily vulgar and ironically becomes unfunnier as the vulgarity increases. It won't go unsaid that director Jeff Tosmic made a savvy decision retelling the true and highly original story of grown men playing an extreme version of a childhood game, but nevertheless the screenplay is genuinely terrible. The film presents a smart idea that is poorly developed, it appears the actors don't know what to do with themselves and neither does the film apparently.
Fundamentally Tag struggles to make efficient use of its widely talented stars. Ed Helms of The Office royalty adds nothing as the frontrunner of this tag team - the same can be said for Jon Hamm, Annabelle Wallis and especially Jake Johnson. I have serious qualms towards Johnson's character - as a performance it's fine, however I cannot fathom why certain comedies insist on having a weed puffer. Arguably it highlights the basis of his disorientated persona yet it doesn't drive the story forward in any way, shape or form - nor does it form any solid gags - it's purely irrelevant.
At it's best Tag offers a taste of what to expect from Hawkeye's return in Avengers next year, flaunting Jeremy Renner's impressive stunt work. Though he is the best character of the bunch, Renner has very little screen time and anything else that doesn't involve him on screen is extremely difficult to sit through. Hannibal Buress delivers the funniest jokes in the film, even if there are so little of them. With a long stream of pancake flat gags, Tag - though it tries to offer a fun time - is simply boring.
Sadly Tag doesn't tap into our inner child at all, and watching the characters getting hot, sweaty and occasionally bashed is less exhausting than actually sitting through this flick. The concept itself is fairly inventive but it's discouraging to be reminded that comedy films can still be as vulgar and lazy as they use to be - particularly with a cast that should have delivered if not a great time then at the very least an amusing one. Tag - like the game itself - galavants aimlessly, desperately trying to think of its next move.
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Hi I’m James - a huge welcome to my film blog! I started this site just after my 14th birthday and have been bringing you my own take on the hottest box office arrivals and many art house triumphs ever since.