Director – Jeff Tomosic
Writer – Rob McKittrick, Mark Steilen
Starring – Ed Helms, Jeremy Renner, Hannibal Burress, Jake Johnson, Jon Hamm
Rating – R
Genre – Comedy
Metascore – 57/100
Rotten Tomatoes – 56%
Adult comedy movies today typically consist of this: a group of people in a room improvising with little structure or progress. The stories feel bland, the actors deliver performances with no energy and the jokes are oversexualized. But, Tag sold itself as an original comedy about a game of tag that has lasted for 30 years supported by a hilarious ensemble with a potential for a ton of stunts and action set pieces. Instead we were served a lukewarm facade of cheap tricks and poor writing.
Tag had a chance to break the mold of adult comedy today, but instead settled nicely into “more of the same.” The actors give tiresome performances with almost no energy in a movie that is entirely based on not losing your childhood spirit. The only performance worthy of mentioning is Hannibal Burress. Every time he was on screen I was laughing, every time someone else was on screen I was bored. I am truly amazed at how underrated Hannibal is, his delivery and deadpan comedy feels fresh. He is head and shoulders above his co stars. Ed “Nard dog” Helms delivers a lethargic version of Andy Bernard, Jon Hamm really should stay away from comedies and Jake Johnson simply plays a rated R version of Nick in New Girl. Their performances are uninspired and suffer from the screenplay’s weak suite of jokes. Jeremy Renner’s psychotic performance as Jerry is genuine and funny at times but the screenplay takes some of his extreme measures too far.
In the movie industry today, we are gifted with incredible CGI artists and stunt crews that are better than ever. Director, Jeff Tomosic, passes on all those amenities and instead blatantly steals from other movies. Tomosic introduces his antagonist, Jerry, the man who has never been tagged, by copying the slow motion capture action sequences from Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes series. Now, the first time this happened I got a laugh from it because they were applying the badass skill and knowledge of Holmes to the child’s game of tag. The second time they “borrowed” this method, it felt cheap. The subsequent uses were simply blatant thievery. One excellent use of CGI in this movie was animating Jeremy Renner’s arms. He broke both his arms on a stunt in the movie!
Naturally, the screenplay tries to tidy up with a heartfelt ending, but the whole time we have been following our band of taggers no work has been done to justify the ending we receive. It comes across as lazy and apathetic. What potential this movie had was ruined by a truly unfunny screenplay and lazy tactics to achieve physical comedy. Tomosic manhandles a true story into a less than inspiring rendition of reality.
PSA: If you have suffered a miscarriage or are deeply affected by that type of loss, I highly recommend that you do not see this movie.
Author: Jesse Ingram