Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Tag (2018)

When I saw the coming attractions for Tag, I knew it would go one of two ways.  It might very well be a buddy comedy where the main characters bond and learn about themselves, all while having a good time.  If not, it would probably be a series of lame jokes held together by a weak plot.  Unfortunately, it tended towards the second one.

The movie starts with Hogan 'Hoagie' Malloy applying to be a janitor, despite being a veterinarian.  It seems strange, but the company really needs the position filled.  Thus, Hogan gets the job.  He only does this to get close to his friend, Bob Callahan, so that Hogan might tag Bob.  You see, it’s May and every May, the five friends get together for the eponymous game of tag.

Hogan wants Bob to leave immediately, despite being in the middle of an interview with a Wall Street Journal reporter, Rebecca Crosby.  Bob finally relents.  Rather than reschedule the interview, Rebecca decides to come along.  Next to be brought into the game is Randy 'Chilli' Cilliano, who is a bit of a stoner.  After that comes Kevin Sable, who’s right in the middle of a therapy session.  They all head back to where they grew up.  The last member of the group lives there.

Jerry has never been tagged.  Never.  Even if you corner him, he finds some impossible way out.  Hogan has told Bob, Randy and Kevin that Jerry will be retiring from the game at the end of the month.  This is their last chance to make him It.  The game is on.

The only complication is that Jerry is getting married to Susan.  The guys are a little hurt that they weren’t invited, but Susan had to have a May wedding and didn’t want the game interfering with that.  There’s also the added pressure of her being pregnant.  The guys agree not to interfere with anything wedding related, which only serves as a plot point.

During the rehearsal dinner, Hogan, Bob, Kevin and Randy make plants to block the exits to the building.  That goes awry when Bob is distracted by a former crush.  This leads to an elaborate chase in the woods that leaves the other three in varying degrees of pain.

There is a message of friendship in the movie, but it gets buried beneath the physical humor.  It isn’t until the latter part of the movie that they have any serious discussion about drifting apart over the years.  Many of the scenes show just how far the group will go for the game and how nothing is sacred.  For instance, Jerry is in AA.  The other four friends think nothing of infiltrating the meeting to tag Jerry.  Jerry eventually locks himself in a room, where he waits for Susan to come and bail him out.  In this scene, she seems to have a miscarriage.  She and Jerry leave, both angry at the others.

That one scene tells me a lot about the movie.  I’m not saying that a movie should shy way from AA or miscarriages.  Instead, either topic should be handled with a certain level of respect.  Both are going to be sensitive topics for those affected by it.  The movie uses both as a way to show how serious the characters are about game.  I felt it was the one scene where the movie stumbled.

I think this is going to be a hit-or-miss movie for a lot of people.  The good thing is that the trailer is representative of the movie.  There were a few things I didn’t expect, but I have to say that I wasn‘t really surprised by anything.  If not for MoviePass, I would not have seen this movie in the theaters.  I probably wouldn’t have even rented it on DVD.  I think I would have waited for it to become available streaming if I saw it at all.

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