TAG is a comedy based on the true life adventures about a group of buddies that have been playing the game of Tag for the past 30 or so years. Each year in the month of May the game picks up from the previous year and whoever is it tries to tag someone else. We all know the game of Tag so the title is apt for this film. Before you say it, yes, these are grown men playing this game…..STILL. The idea is hilarious, actually and I would love to meet the real men who are still doing this to this day. I think they would be more interesting than these characters are.
The cast is promising enough with Jon Hamm, Ed Helms, Jake Johnson and Hannibal Buress as the four that seem to enjoy the game much more than the fifth member of their group, Jerry (Jeremy Renner) who has never been it. Now the four finally think they have Jerry where they want him; his wedding. They are going to tag him on his wedding day. First off, what kind of friends would ruin a man’s wedding day with something so infantile? Well, that is addressed at the end but by then TAG, for all of its energy had worn out its welcome for me.
The cast, as I said, is excellent. I particularly enjoyed the characters of Sable (Buress) and Chilli (Johnson), so much so I would love to see them as a comedy team in their own film. Jon Hamm as Bob is funny enough as a business magnate who is also a bit of a goof. Ed Helms as Hoagie is fine but once again, he is playing the same dorky character he has in the last few films he has done and the shtick is getting old. Isla Fischer ,though is a real hoot as Hoagie’s wife and she takes the game very seriously although women are not allowed in the game. That is also addressed in the final moments of the film.
Jeremy Renner as Jerry though is so unlikable though and seems to be such a jerk, Tag aside, I don’t know why anyone would care to be around him for any length of time. I would have written him off a long time ago. Throw in Annabelle Wallis as Rebecca Crosby (who worked with Jake Johnson in last summer’s disastrous remake of The Mummy) the Wall Street reporter who happens, purely by chance, to land this story and TAG should hum right along with laughs. In fact, there is ample chemistry with this cast but what starts out promising peters out about the start of the third act, though.
None of these characters are really fleshed out much aside from the usual trappings of cliches that accompany these kinds of characters and when the film gets serious in the final act, I almost could not believe it. At one point I laughed because the film seems to give up on its original premise which was working and I could not believe the direction it went. Yes, the film has laughs and some of them are big laughs, but TAG seems to lack confidence in its material, decides to play it safe and tugs on your heartstrings. Some will go for this, which is fine. I was waiting for the game of Tag to continue. Lest I forget the lovely Rashida Jones in a completely wasted role as a girl that Bob and Chilli fought over in grade school. Both Jones and Wallis are wasted on roles that require them to do nothing as their characters are not developed at all.
TAG was directed by Jeff Tomsic and to be fair this is his first full length feature film. He has mostly done short films and a lot of television. I think this man has a future as a director of feature length films. He seems to have an eye for comedy. The problem with TAG is its script which sometimes shines with funny gags and then pulls back for some contrived nonsense that really doesn’t work. Writers Mark Steilen and Robert McKittrick are no strangers to comedy with films like Waiting and Hall Pass, they both know how to tickle the funny bone. With TAG it is hit and miss. Maybe I am being to harsh and I really wanted to love this film but overall this one is better on DVD. Someone compared TAG to Game Night. Let me dispel the mystery. Game Night is a much better and more consistently funny film that TAG will ever be.
TAG – **1/2 out of 5
TAG – Rated R for language, sexual innuendo, brief nudity (mostly for comedic purposes) and violence.
TAG – Run time is 100 minutes. *There are some very funny clips of the real men this film is based on just before the credits roll. But, there is also a end title song which is sung by the film’s stars which was nauseatingly horrendous. It is supposed to be funny but it is cringe-worthy. Other than that, there are no other post credit scenes.*
TAG is now playing in theaters. Check your local listings for times and locations nearest you.