Hot Take: Entertaining enough but it’s easy to imagine a scenario where you forget what you watched 15 minutes after walking out of the theater. It’s silly… but it’s about a group of grown men still playing tag. Shouldn’t it be?
Throwaway comedies are nothing new. I’d run down a list of them from the previous years but I’ve forgotten most of them. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. These comedies, while forgettable, can be considerably funny. They just don’t leave a lasting impression. Tag happens to be one of those throwaway comedies that works in the moment even if it’s mostly forgettable by the time the lights come up in the theater. Powered by a stranger-than-fiction true story about a group of middle aged men still playing the kid’s game of tag and a committed cast featuring strong performances from Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson, Hannibal Buress, Jeremy Renner and Isla Fisher, Tag takes plenty of swings and connects frequently at delivering laughs, even if the comedy is juvenile. It’s a movie about a kid’s game, after all. Tag works, for the most part. It’s a funny escape and shares its premise with a ridiculous true story that might not need the embellishment applied to make it compelling.
The premise is simple: A group of five friends have been playing tag every May since they were kids and one of their friends, Jerry (Jeremy Renner) has never been it. Hoagie (Ed Helms) finds out that Jerry is getting married and decides this will be the perfect opportunity for his friends to finally tag him IF they work together. The rest of the gang — Bob (Jon Hamm), Chilli (Jake Johnson) and Kevin (Hannibal Buress) — join in to entrap Jerry and let the chases begin.
To be fair, there were a few memorable scenes in Tag. There’s an especially funny interaction does a riff on the bad lip reading gimmick when a love interest is introduced played by Rashida Jones for Bob and Chilli to compete over with the back story that she’s the group’s Yoko. Isla Fisher as the way-too-intense wife of Helms’ Hoagie steals many of the scenes she’s in. There are also memorable moments that don’t work. The voice over of Jerry’s thoughts while escaping in the game of tag are more annoying than funny. Overall, though, the all-in efforts of the cast and the novelty of the fact that this is based on a true story elevate it to a satisfying watch.
With a glut at the box office of worthwhile films not featuring superheroes, Tag is a worthwhile endeavor. It won’t stick with you long but it should make you laugh. Sometimes, that’s all that matters, right?
YOU’RE IT!!! (You had to know that was coming!)
You firmly believe it’s time to move on from childish games… and you don’t mind being in the mud, you stick!