A group of friends play tag for the month of May, every year.
This was a lot of fun. I’ll get that out of the way now. It’s just joyful, incredibly dumb entertainment. Mostly, and it’s that “mostly” which is a problem. For 90% of the time it’s brainless fun, but one that’s heartwarming in just the right places. But then at the end, it tries to get emotional, and it doesn’t really work. It just seems like an excuse for the film to try to “do” emotional, and it does not do it well. Speaking of things it doesn’t do well; the “miscarriage” joke just seems out of place. The film itself isn’t dark enough for that joke to really work. If it had moments of darkness throughout the film then that joke/sub-plot would have worked. It doesn’t really help that the character who does it isn’t really given much of a character really. She’s just seen as an extension of her partner. Kind of an issue with a lot of the female characters, to be honest, a lot of them feel really underdeveloped. There’s one character who’s introduced really early on, a reporter who is writing a story about the guys and their game. I won’t lie, there were entire scenes where I forgot/didn’t realise she was there. It was clever having her there as an audience surrogate but she didn’t really do anything. I mean, there was one scene which was played out as a series of interviews, just the one. They never do that again. Other things they don’t do: make the most of the premise. This film is fun, but it could be a LOT more fun. I feel it could have been more creative with its concept. It could have been an incredibly wacky caper of a group of people trying to outsmart each other. As it is it’s a group of people all trying to tag one person and getting violently hurt in the process, which makes the game seem less fun and fulfilling than the film says it is.
This review may make it sound like I hated it, I didn’t. It was very very funny. And the cast was great. People have said this is like a Hawkeye movie. But Jeremy Renner isn’t Hawkeye in this, he’s Rorsarch from Watchmen (a casting which would totally work btw). He knows what kind of film this is, and plays his part brilliantly. As do the others, Jon Hamm is great too, hamm-ing it up throughout (see what I did there?). Isla Fisher continues to be just, just great. But the real star is Hannibal Buress, who doesn’t necessarily have the best lines in the script but makes them the best lines with his delivery. The biggest complaint with the cast is it should have been bigger. This is based on a real-life story, but that involves about 10 people, this was cut down so the story would be easier to follow. I wish they didn’t do that. If they made it a larger cast it would have been a lot more fun, and the film would focus on the game, as opposed to the characters. I miss ensemble cast comedies. You know, things like It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and their ilk. We have ensemble action films (The oceans series, even the Avengers to some extent), but lack those old-style madcap ensemble cast comedies. The wacky ones where it’s just non-stop comedy throughout. It’s a shame as it would have been perfect for this, it would have made it something that stood out, would have been less……I guess, “disposable” is the right word. There’s not enough about this film to make it stand out. To be honest, throughout this I was thinking “okay, so it’s a film about adults playing games?” and for some reason, it kept bringing to mind the far superior Game Night. At least if it was an ensemble cast then it would have a reason for the number of unresolved plotlines it has and it would have stood out on its own. I know by the end of the year I will completely forget that this film exists, let alone that I saw it.
But should you see it? I’d say yes. It’s a fun way to pass the time, and it has a superbly diverse soundtrack. It’s just……it should be better