Review: Tag

Image retrieved from IMDb

So that’s why Hawkeye wasn’t in Infinity War.

Tag is a surprisingly fun and meaningful movie based on a true story about a group of guys who have been friends since childhood. The twist? They’ve been playing the same game of tag for 30 years.

This had the potential to be a very typical comedy about something ridiculous. But instead, it brings a much more layered story about five friends and the relationships that they have maintained because of this game.

The main message of this movie is the importance of keeping up longstanding friendships. This friend group uses tag as a means to stay in touch and a reason to see each other at least once a year. Besides the competition, there is an obvious feeling of camaraderie surrounding them. They want to tag each other, but beyond that is this warm feeling that comes along with almost any friendly competition that any person could be a part of.

There are a lot of funny people and good actors in this movie, from Jeremy Renner, to Ed Helms, to Rashida Jones. But out of everyone, Hannibal Buress easily steals the whole movie. Just about everything that he says is funny and deserves a laugh. The biggest knock on the movie is the fact that overall, it’s just good and not great. Even with all of these funny people involved, many of the jokes either just fall flat or aren’t funny or original. But Buress’ character is the one that the writing team just smashed out of the park. From the lines that he has to the way he delivers them, everything about his character is hilarious.

One of the more surprising parts about Tag is how fun and entertaining the action sequences are. It would probably be pretty boring if the filmmakers decided that they wanted to film the tag scenes just as some guys running up to and simply tapping each other. What they did instead was to get very stylized for each one of these scenes. And it really works! The action was obviously influenced by the recent Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes movies, but it’s just so fun and innocent the way it’s portrayed in this movie. Every time someone tries to tag Renner’s character – who has never been tagged before – it goes into slow motion and we hear his thoughts. At one point, we even hear the thoughts of the other characters. There is even a scene where Jake Johnson is running away from a fellow player and there is a body camera strapped onto him. Again, it is just very well done and enjoyable.

The reason that this comedy movie works when the comedy is often subpar, though, is because of the direction and character relationships. It would have been easy to just go with shot, reverse shot for much of the movie, but there are clever transitions and fun quick pans. This just goes to show that the filmmakers wanted to do more than just make a normal comedy movie. They wanted to make a well-done film.

Finally, the relationships are what really drives the whole thing. Each character has their own arc – some bigger than others – that makes you actually care about what happens at the end. The game of tag is just the vehicle that keeps these lifelong friends together and the movie really shows you why that is so important.

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