Monday, July 2, 2018

TAG (2018)

Rated:  R

STARS: Ed Helms, Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson, Kevin Sable, Isla Fisher
DIRECTOR: Jeff Tomsic
GENRE: Comedy

There's a playfully suggestive song that goes back to the early fifties called, "It Ain't The Meat It's The Motion." Turn that little pearl of prurient profundity  onto its head and you've got the new comedy, Tag--a wild romp of a film that's 's filled with cartoonish sight gags (they run, they tackle each other, they smash up shit)--lots of motion but no meat, or food for thought. That is, until the last third of the movie, when it redeems least to where I didn't have to give it a totally crappy rating. More on that in a moment.

Five "adult" men (played by Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Jake Johnson, and Kevin Sable) get together each May and continue a long-standing tradition, a game of tag they've been playing since the first grade! But like many of the games people play (politics and the like), it has gotten out of hand, and now nothing else matters but to win the game. The current objective is to take down the one group member, Jerry (Jeremy Renner), who incredibly has never been tagged. A plan has been set in motion to get him at his wedding on the last day of the month, figuring he'll be a sitting duck. But Jerry is clever as an elusive Soviet agent--giving Tag the feel of a spy thriller on laughing gas.   

Just when you think that the crazy chase is all the substance this movie has--they'll get him or they won't--the group members must suddenly face their own consciences, as in when does the relentless pursuit of an objective (or an ideology, perhaps) come into conflict with one's sense of human decency? And which one wins out? And that, kiddies, is nothing less than the moral dilemma America is faced with at the moment. So there's more to Tag than initially meets the eye. 

But it comes too little too late to save this film from the Mediocrity Hall Of Fame. All the slapstick gets  tedious after a while, and I was left with a hunger for a little more meat and a lot less motion.

Grade:  C  

Tag makes Animal House look like Gone With The Wind.  Or, for those of you unfamiliar with those two classics, Tag sucks the big one. Unlike Tim, I found no redeeming features in this turkey.  The subtitle should have been 'Peter Pans On Steroids.'  How actors like Oscar-nominee Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) and Golden Globe winner Jon Hamm (Mad Men) got talked into doing this movie is as unbelievable to me as the movie itself. 

I wish I could find something positive to say.  I can't.  I really wanted to walk out of this one before it ended but someone had said the real men the story was based on were shown at the end.  And they were: paunchy, forgettable-looking guys. Playing tag was probably the highlight of their lives.  But it certainly wasn't mine!

And Isla Fisher should be ashamed of herself for playing the competitive harpie married to Ed Helms' character.  Her foul-mouthed mega-aggressive persona set back the image of a liberated woman by centuries.  Yuk!

So my advice?  Don't waste your money.

Grade: F