Movie Review: Solid cast saves underwhelming 'Tag'


Movies like “Tag” keep me curious as to why Jon Hamm is not a bigger thing. Sure, he was a massive star during the “Mad Men” television series, but since the end of that show, he hasn’t turned into the movie star that he so clearly has the potential to become. I guess seeing him steal the limelight time after time in key supporting roles will have to do for now. 

Hamm is, as usual, solid and a couple of his co-stars aren’t bad either in “Tag,” but the overall package manages to be a little too wacky in moments and yet not wacky enough when the occasion calls for it. The premise is simple: a group of friends have been playing the same game of tag — yes, that tag — since they were in elementary school, but one member of the group, Jeremy Renner’s (“Hurt Locker,” “Avengers”) Jerry, is planning to retire and ride off into the sunset after he gets married. His buddies, however, won’t let him have his wish, as Jerry is the only one of the five who has never been tagged. So the other four — Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, Hannibal Buress and Hamm — team up and devise a plot to tag Renner and keep the game alive. 

It’s a premise a little too out-there to believe, but it’s one based on an actual story that went viral a few years ago. Of course, this group of friends is a very different group than the original, which was made up of 10 white dudes from Washington. It’s actually tough to believe any of these guys are actually friends, but I suppose that’s the purpose of the film. There is a through line in all old friendships that keeps people together. For some it’s sports, for others it might be a weird fixation with a school yard game. 

This movie is as much a movie about the inner machinations of the quintet’s friendship as much as it is about the game — sometimes even more. In some cases this works, and in other moments it’s as cheesy as a '90s made-for-TV Disney movie. The good thing? There are some real moments of hilarity between the buddies that help break up its uneven pace and cringe-worthy attempts at romance. Buress (“Neighbors”) is still the funniest dry humor comedian in the world today, and even though Helms is still playing the same character as he did in “The Hangover” — still not sure he has anything else in his tool box besides that — he’s palatable most of the time.

The premise is new, but nothing else is very original. There are some enjoyable moments, but for a movie with the title “Tag,” it was underwhelming to see so few instances of the actual game in play. 

3/5

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BOX OFFICE REVIEW

1. “Incredibles 2”: $182,687,905 (opening week); Buena Vista/Disney. 

2. “Ocean’s 8”: $18,968,184 (week 2); Warner Bros. Total gross: $78,588,354.

3. “Tag”: $14,947,396 (opening week); Warner Bros.

4. “Solo: A Star Wars Story”: $15,748,575 (week 3); Buena Vista/Disney. Total gross: $176,700,049.

5. “Deadpool 2: $8,681,501 (week 5); Fox. Total gross: $294,562,309.

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