Since the beginning, cinema it has asked its audience to suspend disbelief in order to believe that, yes, a nanny can float down from the sky with an umbrella to have a tea party on the ceiling. Yes, there is a planet with blue beings that ride horse-like creatures and have sex via a tail/hair braid thingy. And yes, Ryan Reynolds can be made ugly. My point is this: for the first time in this avid movie watcher’s experience, I was forced to suspend belief. The rumours are true - the latest ensemble comedy coming from Hollywood is a true story. Just how true, you ask? Okay yes, the story itself is fictional, but the concept held within its hilarious walls are true - so true, that they’re unbelievable until the end credits and then it becomes frighteningly all-too-true. True story.
Hoagie (Ed Helms, ‘The Hangover’), Callahan (Jon Hamm, ‘Baby Driver’), Chilli (Jake Johnson, 'Jurassic World', 'Safety Not Guaranteed', TV’s ‘New Girl’), Sable (Hannibal Buress, ‘Daddy’s Home’) and Jerry (Jeremy Renner, the ‘Avengers’ franchise) are all childhood best friends who have been playing the same game of Tag for 30 years. Though time may have separated these men physically, their friendship remains intact and strengthens every May when for the entire month nothing, and I mean nothing stands in their way to play Tag. But when Jerry, a member who has never ever been “It” announces his retirement, the others use his impending wedding - which happens to be taking place on the last day of “the season” - to pull out all the stops and finally tag Jerry. Along for the ride is Hoagie’s way-too-intense wife Anna (Isla Fisher, 'Nocturnal Animals', 'Now You See Me', ‘Wedding Crashers’) and Wall Street Journal journalist Rebecca (Annabelle Wallis, ‘The Mummy’) who is simply too intrigued to pass up the story of grown men playing a children’s game.
It’s so simple. Whether you’re five or fifty, when playing Tag the stakes are always the same - there are no stakes, you just don’t want to be It. How much fun could that really be to watch? But you have to realise that when you’re older, there are land borders, decorum to uphold, infinite resources and the desire to hold on to that small piece of childhood, freedom and immaturity just that little bit longer. Assembling some of the hottest and funniest actors going around, this is one funny run around the playground. This movie is legitimately about tagging Jerry. All of the men are older and slower and have grown up to become very different men - some successful, some not so. Some with families, some without. Some white collar, some blue. At no stage do they all stop and take a “hard look at each other” in order to vent disappointments and tell each other how they’ve “changed, man”, nor utter the words “What happened to you?” It’s all fun! The elaborate schemes and the action sequences are plotted and executed with military precision and excitement. What a rollicking great time!
The elaborate schemes, the action sequences plotted and executed with military precision and excitement. What a rollicking great time!
The male cast members are all great and you can feel them having as much fun as it looks on screen. As for the ladies, Annabelle Wallis and Rashida Jones could have been left on the cutting room floor and it would still be the same movie. But Isla - fabulous Isla - is grossly underused and constantly and consistently steals the spotlight and the laughs from her male co-stars as only she can and continues to do time and time again.
I thought ‘Tag’ was great - not perfect, but great. It’s fun and energetic with a terrific concept, however, and this is to serve as simply a warning, not a deterrent - without spoiling anything, there is a portion of the movie that is dedicated to an idea that turns into a sort of running joke. This joke will offend people, women in particular. I am not a person who is easily offended and while this didn’t offend me now, I did feel it to be in poor taste and I have no doubt people will flock to their keyboards in droves. If ‘Peter Rabbit’ can’t make a gag about allergies, then surely this will not fly under the radar. I wish the filmmakers and cast good luck and godspeed.