Movie Review: Tag

Director: Jeff Tomsic

Cast: Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, Jeremy Renner, Hannibal Buress, Jon Hamm, Annabelle Wallis, Isla Fisher, Rashida Jones, Leslie Bibb

Runtime: 1hr 40min Rated R

Watch the trailer

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Every group of friends has their own traditions that they hold on to in order to stay in contact with each other. Some like meeting for dinner regularly, others maybe stay in touch through Skype or social media. One real group of friends from Spokane, Washington have been playing tag for one entire month out of the year for the past 30 years.

The movie, Tag is based on this incredible true story that was first published in the Wall Street Journal back in 2013. As a way to stay connected, the group made a pact to play this game from their childhood for an entire month every year. The normal rules of tag apply, however the length at which these 10 friends go to tag someone are pretty intense. They even have drafted their own rule book to keep things somewhat in check.

Image via the Wall Street Journal

For the movie adaptation, the group is condensed to only four friends, three of whom scheme to tag the 4th member of the group, Jerry (played by Jeremy Renner), who is about to retire from the game having never been tagged.

Just from an initial reading, it looks like the actors in the movie aren’t playing specific people in real life, more like caricatures from the group. For example, Jon Hamm plays Callahan, who is the CEO of a company. The real life counterpart is Brian Dennehy who, at least at the time the article was written, is the chief marketing officer for Nordstrom. That’s part of what makes this story so interesting; these are successful adults with wives and families who are playing this children’s game every year. Of course Jake Johnson plays the other extreme to round out the cast: a divorced, jobless, pothead who lives with his dad.

Tag is a fun, adult comedy overall that will have you laughing more times than not. It even manages to be touching at times. Many of the jokes are funny; some do feel a little forced and don’t quite hit their mark though.

This is definitely not a movie for kids as a large amount of the humor is derived from dick jokes and other forms of crude humor. If that’s not tour style of comedy, there may be large sections of this movie that you find hard to tolerate.

Most of what I found myself laughing the hardest at was the physical, slap-stick comedy of the movie. Tag at times feels like an R rated Tom and Jerry cartoon with a touch of Home Alone. Things get hilariously rough often, and you’ll need to suspend reality just a bit to enjoy the movie as they get up and brush off serious injuries. Each character would have certainly died in real life before reaching the end of the movie. Ironically, Renner actually broke both arms chair surfing during one of the scenes.

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Speaking of Renner, his character, Jerry is one of the highlights of the movie, despite being in it the least amount of time. It’s obvious why he has never been tagged; he’s always one step ahead of the rest of the group, constantly waging psychological warfare on his friends.

He’s also a master strategist, and there are a couple hilarious scenes where you see him mentally think through a few of the many ambushes he finds himself in. It reminded me of the Robert Downey Jr Sherlock Holmes movies, where something very similar happens. Thankfully, the movie uses them sparingly, which succeeds to keep the joke from getting stale.

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Isla Fisher is also notably funny as Anna, the wife of Ed Harris’s character, Hoagie. “Over competitive” is an understatement for her, and while women are not allowed to play (according to the friend’s official rule book), she is far more aggressive with the group’s tactics than some of the friends actually playing.

Most of the other actors were great as well. Unfortunately, Annabelle Wallis and Rashida Jones both felt like they were in the movie only because they had to be. I don’t think that was necessarily their fault; they just weren’t given much to do.

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The ending takes and unexpected shift in tone that feels a bit out of place for the rest of the movie. It leaves you asking if it was “real” or just another strategy to attempt to tag Renner’s character. I understand why it’s there: to inject a little drama and bring home the idea that above all else, continuing to play this child’s game keeps this group of adults close. I just think there was probably a better way to get that message across without derailing the laughs quite so much.

Without spoiling too much, one of the best parts of the movie was actually seeing the video montage at the end with the real group of friends. You discover that much of what you thought was exaggerated or made up to make the movie funny was taken directly from the playbook of the real friends playing tag.

Final Verdict


Cinematic Quality: 6 out of 10

  • Pretty standard fare for what you would expect from the genre.
  • Most of the stunts were well executed.
  • Many of the injuries inflicted, while funny, were a little too brutal to be believable.

Fun Factor: 8 out of 10

  • Watching these adult friends play this extreme game of tag is hilarious and at times touching.
  • Some of the dick jokes did feel a little forced.
  • Shift in tone at the end of the movie felt out of place and stops some of the laughs.

Worth the price of admission: 4 out of 10

  • This is a great movie to see with Movie Pass or on a discount night. If not, you won’t miss anything waiting until it’s out on DVD.

Re-watch Value: 6 out of 10

  • Moderate rewatch-ability.
  • Worth getting on DVD to watch when you’re in the mood for slap-stick laughs.

Overall Score – 6 BFF’s out of 10

The Crocodile Dundee Movie No One Ever Asked For: Starring Danny McBride

It’s not April Fools yet, right? Danny McBride apparently will star as Crocodile Dundee’ s son in a revival of the franchise titled: Dundee: The Son of a Legend Returns Home.

If you’re still not convinced, People Magazine even published an exclusive article, interviewing McBride, as well as Paul Hogan who will be reprising his role as Mick Dundee. According to the article, Mick has gone missing in the Australian Outback and it’s up to his son that no one knew existed to travel back home from the city to find him.

Also, it appears that Chris Hemsworth, who has proved to have fantastic comedic timing will be in the movie as well:

There a scores of people saying this is all fake and is a promotion for something else as this movie announcement literally appeared out of nowhere. I like both actors but really hope this is a joke as this looks painfully bad. If they’re going to do another movie, ironically Chris Hemsworth is probably the best choice to play Dundee’s son possible.

What do you think? Does this have your interest or have you been left shaking your head in disbelief as well?

If true, Dundee releases this summer.

Movie Review: Baywatch

“Funny (mostly) but forgettable. A good Redbox choice.”

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Rated R for language throughout, crude sexual content, and graphic nudity

Run time: 1hr. 59min.

Trailer: Click Here!

Baywatch, directed by Seth Gordon and starring Dawayne Johnson, Zac Effron, and Alexandra Daddrio is a caricature of the original 90s show and for the most part knows it. This actually works to the movies favor as it’s hard to bash a movie for being bad, when that’s the goal. It’s essentially a guilty pleasure movie. There’s a lot of laughs to be had, but ultimately, unless you’re a fan of dumb, vulgar humor, you’re best waiting for Redbox.

There are parts of this movie that are hilariously funny. There are also parts that try way too hard to push jokes that aren’t funny at all. The humor that works is almost entirely derived from the relationship between the Rock’s Mitch Buchannan and Efron’s Matt Brody. They spend the entire movie competing against each other’s “macho-ness” and these are the parts of the movie you’ll remember. While we’re on the subject, it was hard not to stare at Efron’s abs. Everyone expects Johnson’s physique at this point, but Efron looks so chiseled it almost looks CG. Seriously. That dude either spends every waking moment in the gym or is on some killer steroids…or maybe both.

 

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Roid Rage?

 

I really liked Alexandra Daddario in San Andreas, but comedy doesn’t seem to be her strong suit here…that is unless she’s making jokes about her boobs; and there are plenty of those. Even then she comes across bland and not really funny, but at least it creates opportunities for her to bounce up and down in her swimsuit, which is honestly why she’s in the movie.

Kelly Rohrbach was a good pick for CJ, originally played by Pamela Anderson on the show. Rohrbach did a great job of capturing the sweet but somewhat ditzy personality of the character, and arguably had much more personality in the role than Anderson ever did. Jon Bass plays the comedy sidekick /”tech guy,” and has some funny but forgettable moments. Also, while it’s interesting to see a female villain, Priyanka Chopra’s character is as predictable as she is attractive. She’s one of the few character’s the plot tries to take seriously and it just falls flat.

 

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This scene is the reason Alexandra Daddario is in the movie…

 

The movie surprisingly slows down frequently; bogged down by trying too hard to have a plot. Baywatch’s biggest problem is that it keeps switching between dumb comedy flick and wanting to be taken seriously. When the movie stops trying and accepts itself for what it is and just has fun, is when it shines the brightest.

While the movie’s plot is extremely predictable, it’s also a typical Baywatch story; a new drug starts showing up on the beach, as well as some dead bodies and it’s up to the Baywatch team to solve the crime. Unlike the TV show though, the movie humorously asks the obvious question serval times “Shouldn’t they just call the cops instead of solving the crime themselves?” Mitch explains this away at one point by giving a big speech about dedication to the job and that if you only do the minimum, people die. This is actually a clever way for the writers to explain the exploits in both the original show and the movie.

The action is, to be expected, over the top which fits well with the style of the movie. However there is a little too much “shaky cam” at times and the CGI is pretty noticeable.

Final Verdict:

5 bouncing swimsuits out of 10

All in all, Baywatch can be a fun time if you can accept it for the mindless comedy that it is. Despite all of his humor and action, you’ll forget about it almost as soon as it ends. As I already said, this is a guilty pleasure movie at best. It’s the perfect movie to Redbox on a Thursday night, watch with a group of friends who remember the TV show, or to pull out and watch once every few years for some laughs when you don’t have anything else to watch.