Thoughts on the Movie Tag
I went into Tag thinking they had probably shown every funny moment from the movie in the trailers. That tends to happen a lot now with comedies. The newest Jumanji movie was a typical culprit. I came out of that movie thinking I had wasted the price of a ticket, since I saw everything in the trailer that was good. But Tag was consistently funny through the movie. There were 3 generations of my family members present for the movie, and everyone enjoyed it. It had a couple of bits that were awkwardly done, or just didn't land, but overall it was a rarity for these days, a genuinely funny comedy. Be warned, from this point forward there may be spoilers.
It was also funny because of good writing. Honestly, this was a movie that could have easily been tanked because of the actors. There were a few times that the actors went a little overboard. The guy from the Verizon commercials for one really needs to learn that to sell comedy you need to play it straight, not to "act funny". Jeremy Renner and Jon Hamm could give a class in this. They were both excellent in this movie.
Hannibal Buress was also good, but he was the one actor who was failed just a bit by the writing. At times it felt like they had the script finished with four friends, and then added this character. He gets left out of many of the group shots. Jeremy Renner is the character that is getting married, and is the tag champ that everyone is out to get. Ed Helms gets everyone together to go after Renner, and ends up being the person who makes everyone see how important the friendships and the game are. Jon Hamm and Jake Johnson have a romantic conflict over a woman they both want to pursue. Hannibal Buress gets stuck in a pet door. I just feel like they should have given him more, but hey I know that writing comedy is hard and gets harder if you're writing for an ensemble rather than just a couple of characters.
If Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye was allowed to be half as badass in the Marvel movies as his character in this movie was, he would own that franchise. I almost feel like this character is what Hawkeye should have been. Setting up traps in the woods like Arnold did for the Predator, taking dudes out by throwing donuts like shuriken, even setting up fake Instagram accounts to put his friends off the trail, this guy is 100 percent more effective than Clint.
Once it got to the end of the movie and we find out that Ed Helms' character is sick, and that is why he pushed to get everyone together, I felt like I should really have seen it coming, but somehow I didn't. It would also have very easily slid off into overly schmaltzy territory here, but it was actually handled very well. When the friends begin to run all over the hospital playing tag, and actually having fun, and also including the girls, I found myself with a big grin on my face. The movie had gone from these outrageous scenarios involving log traps (how did that not kill him by the way?) and faked miscarriages, to being a genuinely touching movie.
The best part was at the end when they show videos of the group of friends that inspired the movie playing tag. Even though we know they do not go to the extremes as seen in the movie (come on, falling onto a car from a collapsing air conditioner from a couple of stories up would at least land someone in a doctors office to get checked out) they do show themselves getting in disguises and sneaking up on each other. The fact that it was real this time made it both funnier and more touching.
No movie is perfect of course. I have already mentioned that I felt like Hannibal Buress got short changed. There were a couple of times that I felt people were just trying to hard to be funny, instead of just letting the script be funny. It's not a huge deal, but I do kind of wish they would have let Lou in on the game in the end as well. But honestly those are all small gripes, when the final scene of the friends playing tag in the hospital was one of the more satisfying finales I have seen in a movie for a while. I felt like they made Jeremy Renner's character so hard that he was unlikable for much of the movie. His bride to be suffered from this as well. They both soften at the end, and we get to see that he really does love his friends. This really is a movie that made up for all of its flaws by the end for me.
© 2018 Gracchus Gruad