There’s a long list of things that make Tag an absurd movie.
For one, it’s inspired by a true story about a real group of friends who have played tag for one month, every year, for decades. Then there’s the story Jon Hamm told on Ellen about how Jeremy Renner broke both his arms on the third day of a 40-day shoot - meaning he had to wear green casts so certain arm movements could be digitally added in post-production. Or the fact an obscure Canadian song inexplicably becomes the film’s anthem at the end, getting a full black-and-white, floating head, sing-a-long during the credits (which has nothing to do with “Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm”’s original music video, or, really, anything I can think of other than “Bohemian Rhapsody”.)
But the fact you were hired to save Jeremy Renner the indignity of any fly-aways might take the cake.
For reasons unknown, the character with the least amount of screen time apparently required a personal hairstylist on set, day after day. Was his coif really more complicated, or essential to the plot, than Jon Hamm’s - a professional panty-wetter whose character is the slick CEO of a Fortune “800” company? Was the cool and collected slow-motion treatment Renner’s character is given during the tag sequences really the icing on the cake (gel on the scalp?) that was going to sell this movie? Or is Renner’s whole home-renovating handyman real-world persona just a front to hide the fact he’s really a primadonna movie star? Or maybe it was just a luxury he could check off on his rider, because, why not? If the studio is adding arms in post-production, pinching pennies was probably not the order of the day.
Rather than turning me off of the film, knowing some of these luxuries in advance actually made me think the studio was getting behind a real winner. There must have been some secret sauce in the Tag formula that made production executives really believe in bringing this story to the big screen, and not sparing any expense along the way.
Or maybe, after seeing it, the movie is better understood as embodying the sunken costs fallacy.
I could see how certain aspects of the film lined up on the studio’s big board release strategy: R-rated comedy about a group of men who refuse to grow up, released on Father’s Day weekend. Hell, I took the bait, making an event out of it with half a dozen fatherly friends (and imbibing merrily in the hours before). Because what better way to celebrate fatherhood than leaving your family behind and regaining, for one fleeting night, the freedom of your single life? Seems self-deception was the order of the day - and everyone got fooled.
(Still, more appropriate than going to Tully on a date night.)
All Tag needed to do to become the proverbial “it” movie was generate some genuine knee slappers. Instead, it got smirks and light chuckles. And we couldn’t have been a more primed audience. But I’ll give you this - the movie is all about manufacturing an excuse to bring friends together - so in that sense, for me, it was a success.