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'Dumb Pleasures' of Tag Split Critics

'A sense of madcap fun is conspicuously absent,' complains one
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 15, 2018 10:36 AM CDT

(Newser) – What happens when a group of childhood friends continues playing Tag, often at inopportune times, well into adulthood? Here's what critics (who are split 60-40 on Rotten Tomatoes) are saying about Jeff Tomsic's Tag, starring a host of funny people from Isla Fisher to Hannibal Buress:

  • "Looking for a light summer comedy? Chase down another movie," writes Bruce DeMara at the Toronto Star. He takes issue with the direction and casting, finding Fisher's character "too over the top" and Jake Johnson's plain "annoying." But the screenplay "is probably the main culprit, with dialogue that provokes groans rather than belly laughs," DeMara writes.
  • Katie Walsh disagrees. Based on a 2013 Wall Street Journal article about a real-life friend group, Tag is "the kind of frothy escapist fare that goes down easy on a hot summer day" and "like the game itself, a whole lot of rambunctious fun," she writes at the Los Angeles Times. Her biggest complaint is that several personas "verge on typecasting."

  • Not only is Tag full of "great, dumb pleasures," but it's "relentlessly funny"—"a fine callback to the sprawling ensemble comedies of the 1980s," writes Amy Nicholson at the Guardian. While the film could've done without the role of a WSJ reporter, Buress is the "underwritten sidekick who steals scenes by mumbling the best jokes." And "surprisingly, there's emotional resonance," too.
  • You might think Colin Covert saw a different movie. "Tag feels like a small-screen experience that aimed high and fell short. It's equally diverting and disappointing," he writes at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Like DeMara, he blames a "flaccid script," noting, "This is a film that thinks that the idea of genitals is so hilarious it must be trotted out at 10-minute intervals." And still, "a sense of madcap fun is conspicuously absent."
(Read more movie review stories.)

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