Tag (2018) — Tags, tagbacks, truces, and middle-aged bonding

“It’s not about trying to get away from each other. It’s actually about having a reason to be around each other.”

Justin’s rating: The sequel is a never-ending game of hopscotch

Justin’s review: Sometimes you hear a simple idea for a movie and you’re like, “That may be one of the most brilliant concepts ever. How come nobody has ever done this before?” And it gets you genuinely pumped up to watch said movie, crossing your fingers that it’ll actually deliver the goods.

For me, this was Tag.

Tag’s concept is as simple as it is incredibly silly. There’s this group of childhood friends who, for the month of May every year, play an ongoing, no-holds-barred game of tag — and they’ve been doing it well into their adult years to have an excuse to be together.

Seriously, how can you NOT want to watch this after hearing that? What about if we throw in hard-hitting comedic talents such as Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Isla Fisher, and Hannibal Buress? And what if you found out that it’s inspired by an actual true story of friends who did this in real life?

As the film opens, May is upon us and the friends think that this might be the year that they finally tag Jerry (Renner), who’s never been “It” before. Coming along for the ride on this state-hopping expedition is a Wall Street Journal reporter, who smells a human interest story of the weird degree, and Anna (Fisher), a way-too-intense wife who channels a lot of comedic physicality with her role.

It’s certainly an interesting way to allow us, the audience, get to know this group of age-defying weirdos with all of their eccentricities, baggage, and unwavering devotion to each other. It’s a buddy comedy, except that instead of some lame road trip, it’s all about jumping out of closets to slap someone’s back and shout those two triumphant words: “You’re It!”

The group discovers that Jerry is going to be a sitting duck at his May wedding, but it’s not going to be quite that easy. For one thing, Jerry is as fast as lightning. For another, he turns into a wild caged animal when cornered. And then there’s always the real possibility that the wedding is just a ruse for the sake of the game. Will this finally be the year where he gets his due?

Clearly, the stakes have never been lower than in any movie ever made — but that makes it all the more interesting. Watching these doofuses pop out at each other in apartment complexes, corporations, psychiatry sessions, and even funerals is good fun that reminds you that play isn’t something we should give up so readily in our adult years.

Didja notice?

  • Throwing kids at your chaser is a good strategic move
  • There’s a whole lot of property damage and laws being broken here
  • The book of amendments
  • Mr. Stubbles!
  • Hogie as an old woman

 

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