Childhood friends Jerry (Jeremy Renner), Callahan (Jon Hamm), Randy (Jake Johnson), Sable (Hannibal Buress) and Hoagie (Ed Helms) have been competing in the same game of tag for 30 years. When Jerry gets married, he attempts to retire from the intense annual game without ever being "it," causing the other four to band together and go to extreme lengths to finally tag him. Directed by Jeff Tomsic. Inspired by the Wall Street Journal article "It Takes Planning, Caution to Avoid Being It."
In the beginning of the movie, Hogan is a janitor and walks in backwards to Bobs office, he takes the tray of pastries from the table and dumps them in his cart but after he tries to tag Bob the tray is back on the table. See more »
Amusing (but only sporadically funny) R-rated Laughs
Few studio comedies have a premise as ludicrous at first glance than "Tag," which centers on a group of 40-something men playing the playground game of tag for a month every year. They play the game with absolutely no holds barred, and the best player in the group (who has never been tagged,) is about to marry.
The cast in this film is generally quite strong throughout. I'm a fan of much of the ensemble, which was the primary reason I took interest in this comedy. The chemistry between the leading men is strong, and the female roles are also enjoyable to watch while adding narrative tissue to the film. It's certainly enjoyable and entertaining to see such a talented cast just have fun with each other. The plot is generally amusing, and the slapstick "action" sequences as players avoid being tagged are fairly creative and fun to watch. That said, the film does have some very notable flaws which bring it down a notch compared to similar mainstream comedy films.
The first key flaw with the movie is the clear and present lack of conflict, since the characters agree to a book of rules for the game--so even though players can be afraid of being tagged, there's a pretty drastic lack of suspense or even a sense of thrill in these moments at times. The writing is fine and there are some good jokes, but plenty of them don't work. Much of the humor tends to come from the absurdity of the situations in the game rather than any written plot devices. Also, the movie seems to (maybe unintentionally?) send a mixed message about the friends' game of tag. It means to be a silly comedy that doesn't take itself seriously, and also wants to portray the friend group as tight knit. Then again, it also portrays the game of tag as something that does have clear negative consequences--albeit to a fleeting and finite extent. Of course the movie is intended to be over-the-top, but even in far-fetched scenarios like this, there is a psychological limit to just how long the viewer can suspend their disbelief. That doesn't mean they won't have some fun watching it, but it means that the movie's concept could have been executed slightly better.
If you are a fan of someone in the cast, I liked "Tag" just enough to recommend that you see it, but others can probably just wait to rent it. 6/10
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