Tag

(Tomsic, 2018)

With a premise this dumb, Tag should not be as good as it is. But thanks to its stacked cast of heavyweight actors and comedians, Tag exceeds expectations, if ever so slightly. Though not a particularly memorable film, Tag provides enough humor and heart for a stress-free night out at your local theater.

Based on a true story, Tag is about a group of friends who have been playing the same month-long game of tag, every year, for thirty years. As the month comes to a close, Hoagie (Ed Helms) gathers the rest of the crew and tells them that Jerry (Jeremy Renner) is retiring from the game… with a perfect record. That’s right, Jerry has never been tagged, and they can't let him quit on such a high note. It sounds ridiculous, and it is, but at least Tag doesn’t shy away from its own absurdity.

A review of Tag would not be complete without mention of Jeremy Renner’s arms. During a stunt in which Renner’s character scales a 20-foot stack of chairs, the rigging broke and Renner came toppling down along with the chairs. After performing the stunt again, Renner went to the hospital and found out his arms were broken. Jon Hamm mentioned in an interview that Renner’s arms had to be edited using CGI due to his injury, a fact that Renner confirmed later: “I couldn’t rotate my hands but I could move my arms up and down kind of like a robot,” he said. Renner reportedly wore splints and worked with a physical therapist on set for the rest of production. Turns out, tag can be a dangerous game.

Look, there isn’t a ton to say about this movie. It's about tag. The cast does a good job, though Hannibal Burress certainly stands out thanks to his scene-stealing deadpan humor. There are a few unanswered questions and the plotting is muddy (even I thought of a few funnier endings than what actually happened), but for what it is, it works. It’s not as conceptually creative as Game Night and it’s not as laugh-out-loud funny as Blockers, but it is still worth your time… if you’re into this sort of thing. ★★★

David Merkle