Before we start this review of “Tag,” let me just have you know that I here at Scene Before have been truly grateful to create content to whatever portion of my audience still continues to follow me. And you may or may not know with this post, I have hit a milestone. This “Tag” review you’re reading right now is my 200th post (not counting one that was deleted)! This news of having two-hundred posts almost slipped under my radar. And you know what? I like you all, so I gotta do something for ya in return. I won’t exactly say what it is, but stay tuned, it’s a surprise! Be sure to look out for my NOT EXACTLY 200TH POST SPECIAL coming soon!
“Tag” is directed by Jeff Tomsic and stars Ed Helms (The Office, Vacation), Jake Johnson (New Girl, Jurassic World), Annabelle Wallis (Annabelle, X-Men: First Class), Hannibal Buress (Neighbors, The Secret Life of Pets), Isla Fisher (Now You See Me, Rise of the Guardians), Rashida Jones (Parks and Recreation, The Social Network), Leslie Bibb (Iron Man, Law Abiding Citizen), along with Jon Hamm (Mad Men, The Town), and Jeremy Renner (The Avengers, The Bourne Legacy). This film is about a bunch of friends who have been playing tag with each other since the first grade. Now they’re all adults, and one has a wedding coming up. This person has never been “it.” Everybody else is coming for him, and he’s not gonna let that get in his way. Did I mention this is based on true events?
Going into this movie, I gotta say this was really something I was truly looking forward to. This is a comedy based on true events, and it seemed to have itself center around friendship. One of my favorite movie trilogies ever, “Lord of the Rings,” nails its friendship theme, and naturally, I had some hopes for “Tag.” In reality, both pieces of art are very different when you take their ultimate results, but I figured this would be a movie that’s not only funny, but also just a message to remind yourself how important having friends truly is. I was also wondering if in terms of my overall verdict if this could compete with another movie I saw this year that has truly grown on me, “Blockers.” And you know what? When it comes to my thoughts on “Tag,” it’s certainly a fine competitor to “Blockers!” In fact, as of now, I’d probably have to think about this hard, “Tag” is quite possibly the best comedy of 2018! And without diving too much into spoilers, I’m gonna start off with a complaint that I seriously want to get out of the way.
If you know me, you’d know that I HATE product placement. There are times where I think it is fine, but for the most part, it blows. I will say though, the best part of this movie, is that there is only one instance of product placement that stuck out to me, and it is at the VERY BEGINNING of the film. As soon as that is over, the film is a laugh-filled thrill ride from start to finish. This movie is what happens when you take “The Disaster Artist” (comedy based on true events), combine it with “Premium Rush” (movie involving fast-paced thinking from characters), and put the two in a blender with “Wedding Crashers” (movie where wedding plays importance in story). In fact, when it comes to the overall way this movie was told (genre, pacing, etc), it’s hard to think of a better way that it could have been done. Is “Tag” realistic depiction of the events shown throughout? I can’t confirm entirely since I wasn’t a witness, however I would lean more towards saying “no” to answer that question. Although in the end, for a movie such as this, it doesn’t really matter, “Tag” allowed me to have tons of fun and absolutely enjoy myself.
There are a ton of characters in this movie, in fact I’m going to argue that there really isn’t one that I would consider to be the “main character.” I would say this film would technically have one sole “antagonist” (Jerry), but when it comes to having a main character, that doesn’t appear to be the case. I say this because in reality, this is more of a team-up of main characters than anything. They’re all after one guy, Jerry, and when you see Jerry, you know he’s ready to fight. I’d say that this film has a similarity to “Avengers: Infinity War,” it focuses a lot on its opposition. It doesn’t go out and make the opposition the main character just like “Infinity War,” but it does go out and highlight the power and unstoppable force of Jerry. When it comes to highlighting someone as a main character, you could make the argument that Ed Helms plays the main character, Hoagie, because he always has his name appear as if it were the most important one on the film’s posters, but I feel that wouldn’t be true because while the movie does revolve around him in one way or another, I’d argue that pretty much every character has their moment to shine.
Now let’s get serious for a moment and talk about Jerry. He’s played by Jeremy Renner, who I’d say plays the worst hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but plays one of the best characters in “Tag.” The thing about Jerry in this movie is that throughout each and every May when the friends play tag, Jerry is the one who is never “it.” He’s fast, he’s smart, and will always find a way to get you! Some of the best parts of the movie is when he talks to himself during tag. He’s figuring out whatever plan he can execute, and makes a moment that’s already funny and engaging, doubled in terms of both elements. And you know something? This really just adds a hint of surprise to the film. Jeremy Renner is one of those people I actually consider to be a fine actor, and he usually does a fine job in whatever you put him in. Although, one of my biggest worries going into “Tag” happened to be Jeremy Renner. I say that because I never particularly pictured Jeremy Renner being in a comedy. Although then again I never pictured Ansel Elgort as an action star and look how that turned out! What do I know about actors? Renner’s performance shines and makes the character of Jerry a total standout.
I don’t want to have to talk about each and every character on the team against Jerry, because that would take forever. However, when it comes to all of these characters, they all seem to have their own individual traits that stand out to them as opposed to another character alongside them. One character that truly stood out to me was the character of Anna, played by Isla Fisher. For the record, if you watch the movie, you can’t really say she’s in the game, because as suggested, the rules state that there are no girls allowed. However, there are times where she just acts like the most competitive psycho you’ll ever see in your entire life. I’m just imagining myself playing tennis, and instead of grunting as she returns the ball to the opposite side, she screams “f*ck you” or something. This may be a slight negative towards the movie, although in the way, it’s kind of also a positive, the team doesn’t really feel like it has one character that is supposed to shine more than any other, but at the same time, it can allow you to root more for the team as opposed to one individual part of the team.
One of the most interesting parts of the movie is seeing everyone trying to tag or outrun each other. If you have ever played tag as a kid for fun, let me just say that you have NOT played tag, and this movie will give you some pointers to throw down to your eight-year-old self. One character in this movie goes to the mall, because that’s where Jerry is. To make the character’s self look less obvious, they dress up as an elderly woman. This brings out one of the best combinations of action, narration, and intensity to the entire movie.
I kind of brought this up in the beginning, but I’ll sort of state this again, this movie has a very centralized theme of friendship. These friends have been together for a very long time and they’ve been playing a specific game for a long time. Tag is basically the one thing that is in these folks’s lives that keeps them attached to one another. As we grow up, we start to lose a connection with our own friends that we’ve known as kids, it’s just a natural thing that occurs. But these people keep in touch with each other in such a way that triggers a sense of nostalgia and togetherness. This movie does a good job at highlighting the importance of friendship while still maintaining a mood that you’d still traditionally find in a comedy. The very thing I just mentioned is why this is a true competitor at this point for “best comedy of 2018,” because this isn’t really just a funny comedy, it feels like a real story with real people (with exaggerated thoughts and emotions), and that may be because this is based on a true story.
In the end, “Tag” is definitely worth your time and money. Given what most people would say, “Tag” is unlikely to win the box office on its opening weekend against “Incredibles 2,” but I can guarantee you that it will very likely take the second place spot. And you know what? This movie is worth the money! Not only is it a great comedy, it’s a great story! I really enjoyed “Tag,” I would definitely go out to Best Buy and buy it when it comes out on home video, and I’m going to give it an 8/10. Also, I find it hilarious that I really like this movie because in my elementary school years, any game involving running or tagging was a game that I particularly didn’t want to play. It’s kinda crazy to me! Thanks for reading this review! Pretty soon I’ll have my review up for “Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol,” which will be my fourth entry in my Tom Cruise “Mission: Impossible” review series. Also, before I sign off here, I’d like to thank Warner Brothers for the free screening that I got of “Tag,” allowing me to finish this review early for you all. And if you want to see a post which I’ve written prior to going to see “Tag,” the link for it is at the end of this post you’re reading. Stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Tag?” What did you think about it? Or, if you’re an adult, what is one way that you and your friends from school years keep in touch? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!
SCENE BEFORE IS FINALLY VERY IMPORTANT (FIRST TIME ACCEPTING A PRE-RELEASE SCREENING INVITE): https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/06/03/scene-before-is-finally-very-important-first-time-accepting-a-pre-release-screening-invite/