This movie grabbed my attention simply by the premise, and I absolutely understand why it’s six blokes in this game, as women in movies tend to be much more sensible, something which is actually referred to in this film.
It’s also been a while since I reviewed a comedy, and I felt I needed a laugh after the Hereditary debacle, and the cast and set-up did enough to draw me in so here we go.
A group of six friends have been playing the same game of tag for nearly thirty years, but one of the party has never been tagged in all that time, and the remaining friends see an ideal opportunity to finally get him, his wedding.
This is another one of those films that is difficult to review, as it isn’t bad enough to be derided as a terrible movie, yet I didn’t love it enough to call it great either. However, there are things about it worth talking about, so I’m going to give it a good old college try.
First off, the cast deserve a special mention, at first glance you’ll see just how much talent there is on display (Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Ed Helms et al) but chemistry is not built on paper, and I’m pleased to report that their chemistry is strong enough to make the movie enjoyable while it’s there. The performances of Hannibal Buress and Jeremy Renner were my particular favourites, it gave a rare chance for Renner to show off his comic chops and he fits his character perfectly.
On the flip side of this however, despite strong performances and chemistry, the characters are often tissue-thin and shallow archetypes and thus, I didn’t feel invested in their characters, therefore it can’t leave too much of an impression on my memory. For example there’s the stereotypical stoner character and the token black guy, even if he does show flashes of a more interesting character, which isn’t capitalised on nearly enough. Not to mention Ed Helms playing the ‘doctor who’s not an actual doctor’ that he played in The Hangover movies (he’s a dentist in The Hangover and a Vet in this one), I was half expecting the jokes to be lifted from those films.
This isn’t the kind of film where one would usually scrutinise direction, but there are stand-out moments direction-wise. Mostly the slow-motion scenes from the perspective of Jeremy Renner’s character, which for me are the biggest hits of the movie and show frankly psychotic attention of detail, something that is a running theme as the film speeds towards its climax.
Within said climax lays my biggest critique of this film. Without giving spoilers (as is my protocol) the film takes a dark turn in the final third, which doesn’t feel deserved nor necessary, the change in tone is frankly jarring, and felt like the screenwriter’s had a moment of writer’s block and needed a suitable conclusion, so pulled this out of the hat, and it was a very, very unnatural turn, and the fact that there are two of these dark turns feels even more jarring, almost to the point of being uncomfortable, in fact they feel like they’re trying to see what they can get away with.
In conclusion, if you can look past the incredibly jarring final twists, there’s a light, entertaining movie in here, nothing that will stick in the memory, but enjoyable while it’s there. In short, forgettable, but enjoyable.