Tuesday, September 11, 2018

"Tag": one-paragraph review

2018's "Tag" is directed by first-timer Jeff Tomsic and stars Jeremy Renner, Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, Hannibal Buress, and Jon Hamm. Based on the real-life story of a group of friends who have been playing a game of tag for nearly thirty years as a way to stay in contact with each other, "Tag" follows the antics of a bunch of guys who have all been trying to tag Jerry (Renner), a man so agile and fleet-footed that he has remained a "tag virgin" for nearly three decades. The rest of the guys see an opportunity when Jerry announces that he plans to get married: Jerry can't avoid being tagged when he's at the altar, right? Most of the movie's super-simple plot revolves around tagging the ninja-like Jerry, who has become a successful fitness instructor. Another friend, Callahan (Hamm), has become the CEO of his own giant company; during an interview with a reporter from the Wall Street Journal (Annabelle Wallis), Callahan encounters Hoagie Malloy (Helms); the journalist becomes curious about this ongoing game and, uh, tags along. (In real life, the friends were indeed profiled by the WSJ in 2013.) "Tag" isn't particularly deep, and it's not going to win any awards, but as a bit of light, fun entertainment, it serves its purpose. There's a startling (to me) cameo by Brian Dennehy, looking better than I thought he would. Director Tomsic creates a comedy filled with sly references to other movies, including "Sherlock Holmes" (Jerry's voiceover narration as he defeats his opponents) and, hilariously, "Predator" (the forest-by-the-golf-course scene). The actors are almost all from standup and TV-comedy backgrounds; everyone gets a chance to mug for the camera at least once, and for the most part, the humor works—mainly thanks to the script, which allows each main character enough breathing room to come off as distinct. Overall, I enjoyed "Tag," although I doubt it'll be all that memorable in a few months.

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